Familial dysautonomia: a review of the current pharmacological treatments

Felicia B Axelrod
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2005, 6 (4): 561-7
Treatment of familial dysautonomia, a genetic disorder affecting neuronal development and survival, has improved morbidity and survival for this disorder. Although this is primarily a neurological disorder causing sensory and autonomic dysfunction, there are secondary systemic perturbations affecting ophthalmological, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, orthopaedic and renal function. Penetrance is complete, but there is marked variability in expression. Preventative and supportive treatments have included measures to maintain eye moisture, fundoplication with gastrostomy, the use of central agents such as benzodiazepines and clonidine to control vomiting and the dysautonomic crisis, and fludrocortisone and midodrine to combat cardiovascular lability. With the identification of the familial dysautonomia gene, it has been suggested that it may be possible to treat patients by modifying production and expression of the genetic product.

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