Health Issue: Post-Polio Syndrome
Treatment and Care
Unfortunately, there are currently no effective medications or medical treatments to slow or stop Post-Polio Syndrome. There are a number of studies that show how non-fatiguing exercises may improve muscle strength and reduce tiredness to improve quality of life.
Some treatments include:
- The use of steroid prednisone, but the mild improvements may be outweighed by negative side effects
- Intravenous immunoglobulin may reduce pain and increase quality of life
- The anticonvulsant drug lamotrigine has shown modest positive effects, but more studies need to be done
- Specific and supervised exercises are highly encouraged to treat PPS. Doctors warn that any exercise that causes additional weakness, excessive fatigue, or unduly prolonged recovery time to the person should be stopped and can do more harm than good
- People with PPS are encouraged to use mobility aids (walkers, canes and wheelchairs) and ventilation equipment (portable oxygen and CPAP machines) to increase comfort and reduce fatigue
- Experts recommend changing daily activities to prevent or avoid rapid muscle tiring and total body exhaustion. This may be drastic to people who are used to being very physically active
Education and support are also important in the fight against PPS. Managing PPS can involve lifestyle changes that can reduce symptoms, fatigue and exhaustion. Support groups, post-polio group participation groups and counseling may help both the individuals and families adjust to this disease.