Multiple System Atrophy

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Treatments

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder without a cure, and every patient’s experience with MSA is different. UT Southwestern Medical Center specialists offer expert, holistic approaches to managing MSA’s symptoms, as well as support to help patients understand what to expect from the disease and its treatments.

Each symptom is treated separately, with the goal of allowing patients to continue their everyday activities for as long as possible. Any combination of the following treatments might be used.


Medications used for Parkinson’s disease, such as carbidopa-levodopa and amantadine, can provide relief of muscle rigidity, slowness, and other motor symptoms, as long as they do not cause side effects. These medications are not as effective for MSA as they are for Parkinson’s disease.

Medication might also be used to treat:

  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Blood pressure fluctuation
  • Dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions)
  • REM behavior disorder (acting out dreams when asleep)
  • Mood disorders

Physical Therapy

UT Southwestern’s neurorehabilitation program, which includes physical, speech, and occupational therapy, can ease symptoms and help patients maintain as much motor and muscle capacity as possible as MSA progresses. Therapists also provide family members with information to help them be part of the patient’s successful rehabilitation.

A speech-language pathologist can help treat voice, speech, drooling, and swallowing problems.

Other Treatments for Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

Depending on a patient’s needs, evaluation and treatment might be performed by specialists from a range of other disciplines, such as:

  • Autonomic experts
  • Cardiovascular physicians
  • Nutritionists
  • Otolaryngologists
  • Palliative care physicians
  • Sleep specialists
  • Pulmonary specialists
  • Urologists

The team at the UT Southwestern Movement Disorders Clinic helps coordinate these specialty services and follows up with patients with MSA and their caregivers throughout the course of the illness.