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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Kennedy disease


Other Names for this Disease
  • Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy
  • X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy
  • Bulbospinal muscular atrophy
  • X-linked bulbospinal amyotrophy
  • Spinobulbar muscular atrophy
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Treatment

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How might Kennedy disease be treated?

There is currently no cure for Kennedy disease. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms, maintain maximal function, and improve quality of life. Physical therapy and rehabilitation, including the use of braces and walkers, are the best chance for remaining ambulatory as the disease progresses. Some people with Kennedy disease have breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia.[1] The use of anti-androgens have been shown to improve some aspects of the disease is some people; the androgen-dependent nature of the disease is the rationale for the use of anti-androgens in treating Kennedy disease.[2]

Complications resulting from bulbar weakness, such as asphyxiation and aspiration pneumonia, can be life threatening. People with bulbar weakness should be counseled on the importance of cutting their food into small pieces for eating, and avoiding items that may be difficult to chew and then swallow.[1]

The severity and progression of Kennedy disease should be monitored. Because it is slowly progressive, it is important to periodically assess strength and tolerance to exertion. This allows for proactive management to minimize the risk for falls, optimize mobility, and provide appropriate assistive devices.[2]
Last updated: 9/21/2015

References
  1. Albert La Spada. Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy. GeneReviews. July 3, 2014; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1333/.
  2. Paul E Barkhaus. Kennedy disease. Medscape Reference. March 11, 2014; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1172604-overview.


GARD Video Tutorial

  • Finding Treatment Information - A video developed by GARD Information Specialists that explains how you can find information about treatment for a rare disease.

    Finding Treatment Information

Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Kennedy disease. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy
  • X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy
  • Bulbospinal muscular atrophy
  • X-linked bulbospinal amyotrophy
  • Spinobulbar muscular atrophy
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.