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How is mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) treated?

Currently there is no cure for mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) disorders. Medical care is directed at treating systemic conditions and improving the person's quality of life. Physical therapy and daily exercise may delay joint problems and improve the ability to move.

Changes to the diet will not prevent disease progression, but limiting milk, sugar, and dairy products has helped individuals who were experiencing excessive mucus.

In 2006, the FDA approved the drug idursulfase (Elaprase) for the treatment of MPS II (Hunter syndrome), the first treatment ever shown to have beneficial effects for people with this condition. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in approximately 100 patients with MPS II showed that the drug improved the patients' ability to walk. However, idursulfase has a number of potentially serious side effects, so patients should be monitored carefully when receiving this drug.

Surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids may improve breathing among affected individuals with obstructive airway disorders and sleep apnea. Sleep studies can assess airway status and the possible need for night-time oxygen. Some patients may require surgical insertion of an endotrachial tube to aid breathing. Surgery can also correct hernias, help drain excessive cerebrospinal fluid from the brain, and free nerves and nerve roots compressed by skeletal and other abnormalities. Corneal transplants may improve vision among patients with significant corneal clouding.

Enzyme replacement therapies are currently in use or are being tested. Enzyme replacement therapy has proven useful in reducing non-neurological symptoms and pain.

Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT) have had limited success in treating MPS. Abnormal physical characteristics, except for those affecting the skeleton and eyes, may be improved, but neurologic outcomes have varied. BMT and UCBT are high-risk procedures and are usually performed only after family members receive extensive evaluation and counseling.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.