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Is the drug riluzole for Motor Neurone Disease available in India?

Q: 1. My brother has been diagnosed as a patient of Motor Neurone Disease. I want to confirm the diagnosis. If I send the investigation result hrough e-mail can I get a confirmation? 2. The doctor has prescribed Riluzole for him but this medicine is not available. Is this medicine available in India?

A:Motor Neuron Disease is a very broad term under which several specific disorders fall. In all probability, your brother is suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerois (ALS) or ALS-plus syndrome. It is a genetic disorder with regrettably, very poor prognosis. The correct name of the drug is Riluzole. In UK, it is sold under the brand name of Rilutek by drug manufacturer Aventis. In the Indian context, it is a pretty expensive drug - 56 tablets of 50 mg each (4 weeks therapy because the daily dose is 100 mg) costs around Rs. 17,500. Riluzole is not a curative drug; it probably increases the survival of the patient. In one study the survival rate was increased from 12 (with no medication) to 15 months. The drug is not manufactured in India. It is a very specialised drug and should be taken under the close supervision of a specialist. Detailed guidelines on the use of the drug can be supplied to your brothers doctor directly if a request is received from him giving his full name, qualifications and postal address to Doctorndtv.com

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