Medications to Avoid When You Have LEMS

Medications to Avoid When You Have LEMS
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Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is a rare autoimmune disease that primarily affects nerve cells and muscles. The immune system mistakenly attacks a specific component of the nervous system that controls muscle contractions. This results in muscle weakness, among other symptoms.

There are some medications that you should not use if you have LEMS, as they can make your symptoms more severe. However, if your disease is well-controlled, your doctor may prescribe some of these medications, especially to treat acute problems like infections.

You should always be watchful for symptoms with any new medication, and contact your doctor if they worsen.

Antibiotics

Doctors frequently prescribe antibiotics to treat infections. Some antibiotics can worsen LEMS symptoms because they have neuromuscular blocking effects. However, an infection can sometimes be worse. Your primary care physician will weigh the risks and benefits when prescribing a particular antibiotic.

The antibiotics that are most likely to cause problems with LEMS are very strong antibiotics given by injection in the hospital.

Ketek (telithromycin) is one antibiotic that doctors should never prescribe for patients with LEMS or other myasthenic conditions, as it has been associated with fatalities.

Heart medications

Doctors treat some heart conditions, as well as high blood pressure, with medications called beta-blockers. These medications can exacerbate symptoms of muscle weakness in myasthenic conditions because they affect neuromuscular transmission.

Medications used to treat neurological disorders

A wide range of medications are used by doctors to treat neurological disorders, some of which may interfere with nerve function. It is important to discuss the risks of new medications with your physician, including a discussion of symptoms or changes that you should be watching for.

 

Last updated: June 1, 2020

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Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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