Primary Lateral Sclerosis 

Updated: Sep 06, 2019
Author: Carmel Armon, MD, MSc, MHS; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE 

Overview

Background

Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is a progressive, degenerative disease of upper motor neurons characterized by progressive spasticity (ie, stiffness). It affects the lower extremities, trunk, upper extremities, and bulbar muscles (usually in that order).[1, 2] The major clinical challenge that the presentation of PLS poses is distinguishing it from the more common form of motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),[3, 4] from hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP),[5] and from nondegenerative conditions that may present similarly early in their course. (See Differentials.)

PLS usually affects adults and is usually sporadic. A rare, hereditary variant affecting infants and children (JPLS) was mapped to the gene ALS2 (alsin) on chromosome 2q33.2. According to Panzeri et al, "the protein encoded by the ALS2 gene, alsin, contains a number of cell signaling and protein trafficking domains. The structure of alsin predicts that it functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF). GEFs regulate the activity of members of the Ras superfamily of GTPases."[6] At least 10 deletion mutations and 1 missense mutation of the alsin gene have been shown to cause JPLS.[6] (See Etiology.)

A unique locus for an autosomal dominant form of adult-onset PLS in a large French-Canadian family was mapped to chromosome 4ptel-4p16.1. This locus had not been implicated in ALS or in hereditary spastic parapareses, spinal muscular atrophy, or spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.[7]

A genetically mediated PLS look-alike, progressive familial paraparesis (hereditary spastic paraparesis), is a separate condition with a more limited clinical extent and a more benign course.

Go to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Emergent Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis for complete information on these topics.

Classification of motor neurons

The cell bodies (soma) of lower motor neurons reside in the spinal cord or the brainstem, and the axons (fibers) are connected directly to muscles at the neuromuscular junctions. These are considered first-order motor neurons, because they are connected directly to the muscles.

The somas of upper motor neurons reside in the brain, where they control the activity of lower motor neurons. Second-order motor neurons can be distinguished from higher-order motor neurons. Second-order motor neurons are upper motor neurons whose cell bodies reside primarily in the precentral gyrus or the primary motor cortex of the frontal lobe. They send fibers that directly connect to lower motor neurons in the brain stem that innervate the muscles of the face, pharynx, and larynx or to lower motor neurons in the spinal cord that innervate the limb, trunk, and respiratory muscles.

Third- and higher-order motor neurons are located in the frontal lobes of the brain anterior to the precentral gyrus (ie, the prefrontal cortex). These neurons are involved in planning and organizing motor activity and direct the second-order motor neurons. The somas of these third- and higher-order motor neurons reside in the brain, and their axons form associative or commissural projections within the brain.

Classification and terminology of motor neuron diseases

Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are progressive degenerative diseases in which death of the cell bodies of motor neurons is the primary process. These should be distinguished from diseases in which primarily the axons of motor neurons are affected. The traditional classification of MNDs is according to the affected cell types, as follows:

  • Upper motor neurons alone - PLS

  • Lower motor neurons alone - Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) and spinal muscular atrophies (SMAs)

  • Upper and lower motor neurons - ALS

ALS is the most common of the MNDs. In British-English–speaking areas, ALS is often called motor neurone disease (singular), but this chapter reserves the term MNDs (usually in plural form) as an umbrella term. Therefore, not every MND is ALS.

Patients with PLS occasionally have mild, nonspecific, and nonprogressive findings of denervation on electrodiagnostic testing. The severity of the denervation and reinnervation does not resemble that seen in ALS and does not justify these patients' being classified as having ALS. These patients may be concerned that their PLS eventually could evolve into ALS. Although absolute guarantees cannot be given, some measure of reassurance may be derived from the overall slow progression in these patients.

Clinical presentation

ALS may present initially with signs of only upper or lower motor neuron involvement. Thus, a process that initially is considered PMA or PLS has the potential to be reclassified as ALS if sufficient signs of a combination of upper and lower motor neuron involvement develop over time. In some cases, such reclassification may occur only at autopsy (eg, if pyramidal tract involvement is found in patients who did not have signs of upper motor neuron involvement during life and whose disease was therefore classified on clinical grounds as PMA). (See History, Physical Examination, and Differentials.)

Reports have described patients with 1 of the genes for familial ALS in whom only lower motor neuron involvement was seen during life and at autopsy. Most investigators would classify this disease pattern as ALS on the basis of the gene's presence (even though its clinical expression was incomplete). This position is supported by the World Federation of Neurology diagnostic criteria for ALS.

Complications

Dysfunction and disability accrue as PLS progresses. These are dealt with by the treating physician as they arise. (See Prognosis and Treatment.)

The slow rate of progression of PLS provides most patients and families with time to adapt to the changes and identify resources for support. Conversely, the overall duration and magnitude of the burden placed on the family and caregivers is commensurately greater than it would be in a more rapidly progressing disease.

Risks in daily activities

PLS and its treatment may interfere with the ability to operate a motor vehicle (or other mechanical machinery) safely. The work environment should be reviewed for potential risks (eg, working on a roof or a narrow ledge). Patients with early PLS may not be limited in these respects, but they should be reassessed as the disease progresses.

Patients and physicians should follow the specific laws of their jurisdictions regarding notification of licensing authorities and automobile insurers.

Patients should be informed of these risks and counseled in accordance with the laws of their jurisdiction, taking their present and future condition into consideration. Such communications should be documented carefully.

Etiology

The cause of sporadic primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is unknown. The term pathophysiology refers at this time to histologic consequences of unknown etiologic factors, which result, in turn, in the clinical manifestation of PLS.

Five reports that include autopsy findings in 6 patients with PLS differ in the pathologic changes they describe. Two major factors may account for the different pathologic findings. First, uncertainties exist regarding the diagnosis in some of the series. This is discussed below in regard to one of the patients in the series described by Pringle et al in 1992.[2] Second, since the diagnosis of PLS is based on clinical presentation and the exclusion of known look-alikes, the identification of more than a single pathologic process once the histology becomes available is not surprising.

Younger et al described 3 patients who had demyelination of the corticospinal tracts without gliosis or discernible loss of Betz cells in the precentral gyrus. The pathology in these patients appeared to affect the myelin sheath of the axon of the upper motor neuron or the axon itself rather than that of the upper motor neuron cell body. The clinical course in these patients was faster than that of the typical patient with PLS; one died within 13 months of onset, and another was bedridden within 2 years of onset.[1] In current practice they probably would not be considered as having had PLS.

In contrast, histologic findings in 3 other patients were of involvement of the precentral gyrus and loss of Betz cells. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 7 patients reported by Pringle et al showed cerebral atrophy that was most pronounced in the region of the precentral gyrus in 5 patients, was present only in the precentral region in 1 patient, and was most prominent in the frontoparietal region in another patient. These imaging findings are consistent with the findings at autopsy.

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan studies in 2 patients showed reduced uptake in the motor cortex, as did positron emission tomography (PET) scan studies in 2 of 3 patients.[2] Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) showed abnormal N -acetylaspartate/creatine ratios in 12 of 18 patients with PLS.

Fractional anisotropy (FA) studies comparing patients with PLS to patients with ALS and to controls, showed that patients with ALS in London showed a lower FA in several brain regions than controls. Patients in Oxford with PLS (compared with ALS and controls) showed a lower FA in the body of the corpus callosum and in the white matter adjacent to the right primary motor cortex (PMC), while patients with ALS (compared with PLS) showed reduced FA in the white matter adjacent to the superior frontal gyrus. Significant correlations were found between disease progression rate and (1) FA in the white matter adjacent to the PMC in PLS and (2) FA along the corticospinal tract and in the body of the corpus callosum in ALS.[8]

An additional study also examined changes in FA in patients with PLS and ALS, compared to controls, and showed differences between ALS and PLS patients in the regional distribution of white matter alterations.

In patients with ALS, the greatest reduction in FA occurred in the distal portions of the intracranial corticospinal tract, consistent with a distal axonal degeneration. In contrast, in patients with PLS, the greatest loss of fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity occurred in the subcortical white matter underlying the motor cortex, with reduced volume, suggesting tissue loss. Clinical measures of upper motor neuron dysfunction correlated with reductions in FA in the corticospinal tract in patients with ALS and increased mean diffusivity and volume loss of the corticospinal tract in patients with PLS.

Both patient groups had reduced FA, and increased mean diffusivity of the reconstructed corticospinal and callosal motor fibers compared with controls, without changes in the genu or splenium. These findings indicate that degeneration in motor neuron disorders is not selective for corticospinal neurons, but also affects callosal neurons within the motor cortex.[9]

Clinical neurophysiologic studies confirm upper motor neuron dysfunction in PLS; motor evoked potentials (MEPs) are absent or delayed, and peripheral conduction is normal. Minimal denervation activity (ie, fibrillation potentials) may be found in distal muscles.

Most reports (combining imaging and autopsy series) indicate neuronal loss in the precentral gyrus. However, more than 1 pathologic process may be responsible for the clinical presentation. For example, diffuse Lewy body disease was the underlying pathology in 1 patient who presented with PLS by clinical criteria.

Epidemiology

Incidence in the United States

Data on the incidence of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) are uncertain. In contrast, data on ALS are well documented; ALS affects 2-3 individuals per 100,000 population each year. The 8 patients with PLS reported by Pringle et al in 1992 were identified over a period of 10 years among a population of 500 patients with ALS.[2] Inferring a population base of approximately 4 million people from the ALS patient data (assuming these are mixed prevalence and incidence data) would result in a prevalence of 2 per million for PLS, assuming all cases were identified.

Further assuming an average disease duration of 20 years (close to the reported median of 19 y), this prevalence would translate into an annual PLS incidence rate of 1 per 10 million (0.01 case per 100,000 population per year), which is approximately 0.5% of that for ALS. The tentative nature of these estimates should be emphasized. They are consistent with a conservative estimate that not more than 500 people with PLS currently are living in the United States. Independent validation of this estimate would be difficult. In addition, review of the cases in the Pringle study suggests that half may not have had PLS; this would reduce the above estimates accordingly.

Repeating this calculation, using the more recent numbers 43 patients with PLS and 661 patients with ALS seen over a period of 17 years,[4] results in a presumptive population base of 13,220,000. Factoring an average PLS duration of 20 years, of the 43 PLS patients, approximately one half would be alive at any point in time, giving a prevalence of 1.6 per million, which translates into an incidence rate of 0.8 per 10 million per year and an estimated 400 people with PLS currently living in the United States. These estimates are lower than the previous estimates, in which the author did not take into account loss of PLS patients over the time they were accrued.

Sex predilection

The female-to-male ratio in a report of 8 patients was 1:1.[2] However, only 1 of 9 patients reported by Younger et al in 1988 was female.[1] A more recent report[4] supports a 1:1 female to male ratio among 43 patients with PLS.

Age predilection

A series of 43 patients reported a mean age of onset of 54.62 ± 10.9 years, with a range of 33-74 years.[4] This is similar to the age of onset range of 35-66 years with a median of 50.5 years reported earlier from the same center.[2]

Onset in a patient as young as 20 years was reported by Younger et al.[1]

Prognosis

Dysfunction and disability accrue slowly as primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) progresses.

Issues of progressive disability are shared by all patients with all forms of MNDs, regardless of type.

Mortality

PLS has not been considered to shorten life expectancy. However, inspection of reported survival data from 36 patients with PLS[4] now suggests that the median survival is approximately 20 years.

Patient Education

The physician's role in patient education about primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) includes informing the patient about the following:

  • The distinction between PLS and other MND (particularly ALS) and the uncertainty of PLS evolving into ALS

  • The availability of fairly effective symptomatic treatment using a multidisciplinary approach

  • The possible (current or future) impairment or medication effects that would make driving, operating some types of machinery, and certain work environments (such as roofs or ledges) unsafe

Information resources for patients

These resources are listed for informational purposes. Listing these resources does not imply endorsement. Patients should obtain specific treatment recommendations from their physicians.

  • Newsletter - SYNAPSE: A PLS Newsletter, 95 Campion Road, North Andover, MA 01845 or email markw732@yahoo.com

  • Discussion groups (Yahoo Health Groups PLS-FRIENDS; National Organization for Rare Disorders, 55 Kenosia Avenue, PO Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968)

 

Presentation

History

Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) usually presents with gradual-onset, progressive, lower-extremity stiffness and pain due to spasticity. Onset is often asymmetrical. Affected individuals typically have no family history of similar disorders.

As PLS progresses, patients may develop balance problems and have a tendency to fall. Axial muscle involvement may result in lower back and neck pain, which may aggravate back or neck pain from other causes (eg, degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis).

As the upper extremities become involved, patients may have difficulties with activities of daily living (ADLs). Involvement of the organs of speech may result in spastic dysarthria (which initially may be mild).

Swallowing and breathing may be compromised late in the disease.

Physical Examination

Signs of upper motor neuron dysfunction may include limb and trunk spasticity, pathologic spread of deep tendon reflexes, clonus, pathologic reflexes (such as Babinski sign), and spastic dysarthria.

Signs of involvement of other systems should not be present. In particular, no cerebellar findings, involuntary movements, sensory findings, findings suggesting lower motor neuron dysfunction (such as fasciculations), visual findings, or bladder dysfunction should be observed.

 

DDx

Diagnostic Considerations

The diagnostic criteria for primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) proposed by Pringle et al in 1992 include insidious onset of spastic paresis in adults, which usually begins in the lower extremities.[2] Affected individuals typically have no family history of similar disorders.

Some suggest that spastic paresis should be symmetrical, but asymmetrical presentation is not unusual. The paresis progresses gradually in a manner consistent with corticobulbar and corticospinal tract dysfunction. Duration should be at least 3 years, and other diagnoses should be excluded by imaging and laboratory tests.

The suggestion by Pringle et al that the diagnosis may be made within 3 years of symptom onset contradicts the 5 years' duration that was required by the criteria proposed by Stark and Moersch in 1945.[10] The criteria from Pringle et al also permit bulbar or upper extremity onset for PLS.[2]

One patient in the series of Pringle et al, who was diagnosed as having PLS by their criteria but not according to the criteria of Stark and Moersch, had bulbar onset and progressed to essentially anarthria within 2 years. This patient showed occasional fibrillation potentials in the pronator quadratus, thenar, and interosseus muscles 4 years after onset of disease. The reported follow-up (< 5 y) was the shortest in that series. This patient's course resembled that of ALS (albeit with a slower than average rate of progression) more than PLS.

Thirteen of 29 patients with upper motor neuron symptom onset reported by Gordon et al, initially diagnosed as having PLS, evolved to having upper motor neuron–dominant ALS within 3.7 years of symptom onset. Gordon et al advised a period of 4 years of observation before a patient is considered to have PLS.[3] However, in patients with bulbar onset, requiring a 5-year period of observation and greater diligence to exclude lower motor neuron involvement may be prudent before diagnosing PLS (rather than ALS).

In summary, concern for future evolution into ALS cannot be allayed by a workup shortly after symptom onset.

Lower extremity onset and slow progression (at least 3-5 y) increase confidence in the diagnosis of PLS and decrease the likelihood of a later evolution into ALS. A 5-year period of observation, without emergence of clinical lower motor neuron signs, provides greater confidence in the diagnosis than does a shorter period of observation.

From the standpoint of disease impact on patient survival and disability, rate of progression rather than diagnostic classification is the determining factor. Nevertheless, acceleration of the course may be expected if lower motor neuron signs develop in a patient who was thought to have PLS.

Go to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Emergent Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis for complete information on these topics.

Other differentials

The most common causes of myelopathy in the age group in which PLS most often occurs are cervical spondylosis and chronic progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Both are more common than PLS.

Some conditions may present initially with pure upper motor neuron dysfunction, such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (rarely without the characteristic MRI findings) or spongiform encephalopathy, but they have a rapid course that would preclude consideration of PLS.

If appropriate, also consider and exclude myelopathy associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Other disorders to consider in the differential diagnosis of PLS, aside from those in the next section, include the following conditions:

  • Hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP)

  • Konzo

  • Neurolathyrism

  • Spinocerebellar ataxias

  • Tumors of the spinal cord

  • Low-grade astrocytoma

  • Meningioma

  • Multiple system atrophy

  • Neurosyphilis

  • Oligodendroglioma

  • Olivopontocerebellar atrophy

  • Parkinson-plus syndromes

Differential Diagnoses

 

Workup

Approach Considerations

As previously mentioned, patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) occasionally have mild, nonspecific, and nonprogressive findings of denervation on electrodiagnostic testing.[11] The severity of the denervation and reinnervation does not resemble that seen in ALS and does not justify these patients' being classified as having ALS.

Whether serial electromyography (EMG) has a role in the diagnosis of PLS is uncertain; EMG might be used to look for the evolution of lower motor neuron findings in the absence of clinical evidence to suggest a change into ALS, but the clinical implication would be uncertain.

Despite the availability of supporting imaging and clinical neurophysiologic features, described best in patients with established disease, the initial diagnosis of PLS is usually made on clinical grounds.

Lab Studies

Laboratory studies for primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) should include hemogram, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, vitamin B-12 level, and, as indicated, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) (or rapid plasma reagent [RPR]), Lyme, HIV-1/HIV-2, and HTLV-1 serology tests.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis should include protein and glucose concentrations, cell count, and an MS panel.[12]

Imaging Studies

MRI studies are obtained to exclude alternative diagnoses. MRI, MRS, SPECT scan, and PET scan changes have been described in some patients, but the usefulness of these studies in making the diagnosis early in the presentation of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is not known.

Similarly, diffusion tensor imaging and magnetization transfer imaging may provide insight into the pathophysiologic process of ALS and PLS by providing objective imaging evidence to support the clinical findings of upper motor neuron dysfunction.

Further investigation is needed to determine and to compare the utility of various neuroimaging markers in making the diagnosis of PLS, in comparison with the clinical examination findings.

At this time, therefore, these advanced imaging techniques cannot be used alone to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of PLS.

Motor and Sensory Nerve Conduction Studies and Needle EMG

Motor and sensory nerve conduction studies should be normal.

Needle EMG helps to distinguish primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) from ALS by identifying, in ALS, electrophysiologic evidence of widespread lower motor neuron involvement. The changes in PLS are minimal or absent.

Electrodiagnostic Testing and Electrophysiologic Testing

Repeat electrodiagnostic testing occasionally is considered to determine whether lower motor neurons are involved.

As overall activity diminishes, muscle atrophy may suggest lower motor neuron involvement. Such changes may be distinguished from muscle atrophy due to disuse secondary to upper motor neuron impairment on clinical grounds (eg, no fasciculations) and, more definitively, by electrophysiologic testing. Occasionally, sparse, scattered, nonprogressive changes of denervation (ie, fibrillation potentials) may be seen in distal muscles.

Motor Evoked Potentials and Lower Extremity Somatosensory Evoked Potentials

Motor evoked potentials may show abnormalities of the upper motor neurons, but this test is not readily available in many centers.

Lower extremity somatosensory evoked potentials occasionally show prolonged latencies in patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), in the absence of sensory symptoms. This subclinical involvement of central sensory axons suggests that in those patients, the disease pathophysiology is not restricted to upper motor neurons but instead affects them preferentially.

Lumbar Puncture and Genetic Testing

A lumbar puncture should be considered to rule out other causes of spasticity (eg, MS) after appropriate imaging studies have been obtained.

Genetic testing for HSP may be considered if the presentation and family history suggest the condition. Confirmation of a diagnosis of HSP results in an expectation for slower disease progression and a more limited range of clinical involvement, and affects management of the patient. Appropriate genetic counseling should be offered to patients with suspected HSP before they are referred for genetic testing.

 

Treatment

Approach Considerations

Mechanism-specific treatments directed at the pathologic process that underlies primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) have not been identified. Consequently, treatments are directed at alleviating symptoms.

Go to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Emergent Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis for complete information on these topics.

Treatments for Spasticity

Treatments for spasticity include baclofen (Lioresal), tizanidine (Zanaflex), and the benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin). Patients in whom oral treatment does not provide adequate relief may wish to consider intrathecal baclofen (ie, infusion of medication directly into the CSF via a surgically placed continuous infusion pump). However, patients must be selected appropriately to ensure that those who receive this treatment are likely to benefit.

Patients who experience pain due to spasticity may benefit from analgesics. Those who become depressed may require antidepressants.

Physical Therapy, Assistive Devices, and Ventilatory Support

Stretching exercises, usually used in combination with pharmacologic treatment, may help to alleviate spasticity.[13] A program of stretching/strengthening exercises, which may be done at home, may promote full range of joint motion and reduce the risk of contractures. Patients who are weak may require passive range of motion exercises to be administered by their caregivers.[14]

Attempting to overcome severe spasticity with physical therapy alone may result in torn or strained muscles or tendons. Hence, physical therapy that causes pain should be avoided or modified. Other modalities, such as massage or pool therapy, may provide symptomatic relief.

Assistive devices may be needed to compensate for specific disabilities. Periodic evaluation for these by physical and occupational therapists may be beneficial.

Patients late in the course of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) may develop ventilatory failure and may require noninvasive ventilatory support.

Multidisciplinary Clinic

Patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) may benefit from evaluation and follow-up at multidisciplinary clinics, such as those available for the more common ALS. These multidisciplinary clinics may provide, in a single location, physical and occupational therapy, speech and swallowing evaluation and therapy, nutritional assessment and counseling, and respiratory assessment.

Dietary Modification and Activity Considerations

A balanced diet based on the patient's physical activity and other needs is recommended to avoid excessive weight gain or inanition.

Activity should be maintained as tolerated to maximize existing function and to preclude accelerated dysfunction due to disuse and development of contractures.

Consultations

Depending on the type and degree of dysfunction, the following consultations may be considered:

  • Physical medicine specialist

  • Occupational therapist

  • Psychologist/psychiatrist - Many patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) present with neurocognitive impairments reflecting an executive dysfunction; formal assessment may help in educating patients and families and set the stage for using ameliorative and coping strategies

  • Nutritionist

  • Genetic counselor - Appropriate genetic counseling should be offered to patients who are suspected of having HSP or who are diagnosed with HSP, and to patients with unexplained upper motor neuron symptoms who are referred for genetic testing

Long-Term Monitoring

Frequency of outpatient follow-up in patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) depends on the patient's need for symptom control. It may range from monthly initially to every 4-6 months once optimal treatment is established, provided that no new symptoms appear.

 

Medication

Medication Summary

Medications to alleviate spasticity are discussed here. Patients in whom oral medications do not provide adequate spasticity relief may wish to consider intrathecal baclofen (ie, via continuous infusion pump).

Skeletal muscle relaxants

Class Summary

These agents are used to treat reversible spasticity associated with MS or spinal cord lesions and are useful also in patients with spasticity due to PLS. Individual responses vary.

Baclofen (Lioresal, Gablofen)

This agent may induce hyperpolarization of afferent terminals and inhibit monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes at the spinal level.

Alpha2 Adrenergic Agonists

Class Summary

These agents act to decrease excitatory input to alpha motor neurons.

Tizanidine (Zanaflex)

This centrally acting muscle relaxant is metabolized in the liver and excreted in urine and feces.

Benzodiazepines

Class Summary

These agents may act in the spinal cord to induce muscle relaxation.

Diazepam (Valium)

Diazepam depresses all levels of the central nervous system (eg, limbic and reticular formation), possibly by increasing activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Individualize the dosage and increase it cautiously to avoid adverse effects.

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Clonazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine that increases presynaptic GABA inhibition and reduces the monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes. It suppresses muscle contractions by facilitating inhibitory GABA neurotransmission and other inhibitory transmitters.

 

Questions & Answers

Overview

What is primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

How are motor neurons classified?

How are motor neuron diseases (MNDs) classified?

How is primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) differentiated from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

What are the possible complications of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which daily activities may be affected by primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What causes primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the prevalence of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) in the US?

What are the sexual predilections of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which age groups have the highest prevalence of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the prognosis of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

How does primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) affect mortality?

What is included in patient education about primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Where are patient resources about primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) found?

Presentation

Which clinical history findings are characteristic of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which physical findings are characteristic of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

DDX

What are the diagnostic criteria for primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which conditions are included in the differential diagnoses of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What are the differential diagnoses for Primary Lateral Sclerosis?

Workup

How is primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) diagnosed?

What is the role of lab testing in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of needle EMG in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of repeat electrodiagnostic testing in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of motor evoked potentials in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of lumbar puncture in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of genetic testing in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Treatment

How is primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) treated?

How is spasticity treated in patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of physical therapy in the treatment of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is the role of assistive devices and ventilatory support in the treatment of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What types of multidisciplinary clinics can best deliver treatment for primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which dietary modifications are used in the treatment of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which activity modifications are used in the treatment of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which specialist consultations are beneficial to patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

What is included in the long-term monitoring of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Medications

What is the role of medications in the treatment of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Which medications in the drug class Benzodiazepines are used in the treatment of Primary Lateral Sclerosis?

Which medications in the drug class Alpha2 Adrenergic Agonists are used in the treatment of Primary Lateral Sclerosis?

Which medications in the drug class Skeletal muscle relaxants are used in the treatment of Primary Lateral Sclerosis?