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How To Treat Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a disorder of the brain that can cause issues with the patient's ability to balance, walk, and have normal eye movements. In the United States, about twenty thousand individuals have PSP. It is classified as a degenerative neurological disorder, and the symptoms it causes are progressive. In addition to physical impairments, patients also tend to experience cognitive impairment and personality changes. 

In most cases, patients are older than sixty, but it may affect younger patients too. It is not known precisely what causes this condition, and it is often misdiagnosed as other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, corticobasal degeneration, or Alzheimer's disease.

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Medication

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No medication can cure progressive supranuclear palsy, but some options appear to help alleviate some of the symptoms patients experience. Due to muscle stiffness and rigidity, doctors might recommend botulinum toxin. This would be injected into the specific muscles that are especially spastic, including some of the muscles surrounding the eyes. When used in the eye area, this is done to help reduce some of the abnormal eye movements. This injectable drug works by inhibiting the messages that tell the patient's muscles to contract, resulting in muscle relaxation. If this is effective, patients generally have it done one to three times a year.

Medicines for Parkinson's disease are also commonly prescribed. However, these generally stop providing positive results after about three years. When they are helping, they may allow the muscles to move smoothly, reducing rigidity and stiffness. These medications work by increasing dopamine levels, a type of chemical in the brain critical for ensuring muscle movements are controlled and smooth.

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