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Treating Primary Periodic Paralysis and How the Treatment Compares to Treating Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 10/27/2009

This article will focus on the different treatments available for primary periodic paralysis and how they compare to treating hypokalemic periodic paralysis.

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    Treating primary periodic paralysis consists of medical methods as well as certain lifestyle changes. The main goals of treatment are to prevent further episodes and alleviate the patient's symptoms. Patients experiencing hear arrhythmias, and muscle weakness that is affecting their ability to swallow and breathe should seek emergency medical treatment. The different types of this condition are treated differently.

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    Hyperkalemic Treatment

    Most patients with this type will require no treatment. Carbohydrate-rich foods can often improve muscle weakness. When patients are having a severe episode, their treatment plan will focus heavily on reducing their blood-potassium level. Patients should also avoid eating too many high-potassium foods such as sunflower seeds, bananas, honeydew, orange juice, and cantaloupe. Certain medications can also be prescribed to help decrease the frequency of episodes. These medications include acetazolamide, chlorthalidone, and chlorothiazide. Mexiletine is beneficial for improving myotonia.

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    Hypokalemic Treatment

    Treating hypokalemic periodic paralysis differs from treating the other types. When a patient with this type is having an episode they are most often given oral potassium until their weakness alleviates. Patients should avoid foods high in sodium and carbohydrates. Certain medications may also be beneficial in reducing the number of episodes a patient experiences. These include acetazolamide, spironolactone, dichlorphenamide, and triamterene.

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    Paramyotonia Congenita Treatment

    Treating patients with this type involves reducing myotonia. The plan also often involves treating any other symptoms they may be experiencing. The medication, mexiletine, has also shown promising results in treating this condition.

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    Andersen-Tawil Syndrome Treatment

    Treating patients with this type most often involves treating their symptoms. If they are experiencing pain, stiffness, and tightness they will often be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Medications are the primary mode of treatment. Some patients will benefit from physical and occupational therapy.

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    Potassium-Associated Myotonia Treatment

    Treating this type of primary periodic paralysis focuses on decreasing myotonia. Patients should also monitor their potassium consumption and will often have their blood-potassium levels checked several times throughout the year. Medications can also be used. These include diuretics such as chlorthalidone and chlorothiazide, and a medication than can help to reduce the number of episodes a patient has, such as mexiletine.

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    References

    Kugler, M. R.N. (2006). Primary Periodic Paralysis Symptoms. Retrieved on October 26, 2009 from Website: http://rarediseases.about.com/od/rarediseasesp/a/primaryperiodic.htm

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