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Edaravone for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Neurology and Neurosurgery

November 2018

Edaravone as an intravenous injection is in clinical development for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a neurological condition that affects nerve cells in the brain and
spinal cord. It results in gradual weakness and wasting of muscles of the body. Respiratory muscles are involved as the disease progresses, leading to shortness of breath and ultimately
death. Little is known about the cause of the disease, and there is currently no cure.

Edaravone acts as a free radical scavenger (or antioxidant). Free radicals can occur as a normal part of the cellular process of producing energy and are quickly removed by the body.
However, if they remain, they can cause oxidative stress, leading to damage and cell death. Oxidative stress caused by free radicals is believed to be one of the causes of nerve cell death
in ALS. Edaravone has a neuroprotective effect and slows the progression of ALS by removing free radicals in the nervous system. If licensed, edaravone will offer an additional treatment
option for patients with ALS who currently have few effective therapies available.

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