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Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2024

What is the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Progressive supranuclear palsy or PSP is a rare neurological disease that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. However, PSP is much rarer than Parkinson’s, which is why very few people known about PSP. The disease is caused due to degeneration of brain cells at the lower part of the brain. Among the portions affected, the substantia nigra is the most vital portion. When the disease progresses to these cells, the symptoms related to palsy becomes detectable.

At the onset of the disease, people may have difficulty walking or may even fall down often. Patients claim that they experience dizziness prior to falling down. This symptom can often lead to a misdiagnosis related to inner ear disorder. Affected people may also experience difficulty retaining memory and change in personality.

However, the disease keeps progressing over time and can become very difficult to manage 5-6 years after diagnosis. Walking may become impossible with time and eyesight also suffers tremendously. At the later stages, reading can become almost impossible, since the eye cannot focus anywhere.

There is no cure for the disease, but with treatment, people can manage the symptoms. With proper medical aid, the quality of life for the patient can be improved.

How is the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy treatment done?

PSP is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses over the years. There is no cure for the condition and research is still underway to pinpoint a method that can eradicate the damage inflicted on the brain cells. However, at the moment, medical science can only aid you to limit the symptoms and the severity of the condition.

A range of medication is used to keep the symptoms of the disease at bay. Sinemet is one of the more popular drugs used for the treatment. The medicine contains levodopa, which helps to control shakiness and tremors.

Apart from the medications used to treat the symptoms of PSP, doctors also prescribe sleeping pills and anti-depressants to patients. The former is given in order to induce proper sleep in patients. Other treatments are also being developed at the moment, which can better help patients to handle their situation.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy should seek the treatment. Doctors will be able to help patients with the medication that they should take. This medication may be changed over the course of time, depending on the progression of the symptoms.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who do not suffer from PSP and are instead suffering from Parkinson’s should not seek the treatment listed here.

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Are there any side effects?

Antidepressants can have a number of side effects, some of which include nausea, increased appetite, weight gain, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision.

Sinemet is a common drug used to manage the symptoms related to PSP. However, the medication may also cause dry mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, cough, constipation and sneezing. Skin rash, itching and severe headache may also be caused as a result of the medication.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Since, the treatment is continuous and must be carried on throughout life, there are no post-treatment care procedures to follow. However, patients with PSP have to rely on other people for many of their activities. Patients must also follow the advice from doctors and take medication properly, if they want to slow down the progression of the disease.

How long does it take to recover?

The condition cannot be cured. The medication helps to slow down the progression of the condition, but cannot cure patients completely. This is why the treatment needs to be continued throughout the life of the patient.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of treatment may vary from one place to the next, a patient will likely spend anywhere between Rs. 1,00,000 and Rs. 5,00,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treatment results are temporary in nature and must be continued in order to keep symptoms controlled. If the patient stops the treatment at any point of time in life, the condition will get progressively worse over time and may hamper te quality of life.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

People with PSP can try to treat the condition using natural remedies. Medications such as Boswellia Carcumin, Shilajit, Ashwagandha, Hakam Churna and Giloy capsules are believed to be beneficial against the symptoms related to progressive supranuclear palsy. However, the effectiveness of such products have not been proven through any research studies.

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Written ByDr. Praveen ChaudharyMBBS,PGD IN ULTRAASONOGRAPHY,Non invasive cardiology course,MD - MedicineInternal Medicine
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