Treating SMA in the Community


James Wymer, MD, FAAN: The treatment of spinal muscular atrophy has really changed over the past 5 years. If you’re treating patients with spinal muscular atrophy [SMA], getting to know your physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, and all your treatment partners is critical. Working together with them to come up with a very comprehensive plan is going to be the best way to address this. There’s so much more we can do these days that we haven’t been able to do in previous years. We have the medications, we have future medications that may come onto the market, and we have a much better understanding of the role that exercise and these multidisciplinary clinics will play. Getting that together, whether it’s referring to 1 of these clinics or doing it by yourself with the specialist to get the training, is important. It’s all available to understand what we need to do. It’s amazing where the disease is going to go in terms of treatment because of those.

Tim Hagenacker, MD: The most important information is that SMA is now a treatable disease. Every neurologist has to keep that in mind, because many of us are treating these patients for a very long time, and patients come more for that multidisciplinary team approach. The neurologist was more the administrator who collected the information, but now, we are switching over to an active role. This is important that we are now more on the active side. This is an active part of our profession. We have to offer these treatment options to the patient and give good advice on which will be the best treatment option for every individual SMA patient.

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