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Senior member
Feb 22, 2007
Does any one else have this problem? A laryngospasm is a tightening or spasm of the vocal chords which makes it difficult to breath. Breathing out is easy, breathing in sounds like a severe asthma attack. One woke me up this morning and I haven't been able to rid of the feeling that I need to clear my throat since.

hey i have wrote 15 post can i join the gorup now thanks jenny
Hi ZenArcher -

Regarding the Laryngospasms. Very terrifying - I know. My Pals gets them.

We are told that using oral (liquid) Lorazepam immediately releases the spasms. It is called Lorazepam Intensol - a concentrated form. She puts .5 ml under her tongue and within seconds she can breathe again. You can also put it inside your cheek (buccal mucosa). The point is NOT to swallow it, but to let it be absorbed by the mucosa in your mouth - much faster rate of action because it goes straight into the blood system due to the blood vessels in that area.

She got it at her ALS clinic - apparently many of the PALS use it.

One thing to let you know - she gets QUITE relaxed from that amount, functional, but very relaxed.

Major drawback is that it must be refrigerated. If you have this happen frequently I suggest putting the little bottle in a baggy, then in a cup of ice. We draw up the correct amount into the dropper, and then leave it loosely capped. Stays fine most of the day.

This does not seem to be associated with excess mucous with my PALS, just a fluke swallowing thing. But once it happens all kinds of mucous is produced. She is sneezing, coughing and sputtering for quite a while.

She does not yet have bulbar symptoms, but her diaphragm is quite weak - although she coughs, her perception is that coughing is inneffective. We use a Cough Assist after these episodes and she finds a great deal of relief. Maybe that could help with your feeling like you need to clear your throat. Also - something like Claritin (or other antihistimine) might be effective after an episode.

Good luck!


PS - Thank you for all of you wonderful posts - I rely on you for terrific information, and thoroughly appreciate your take on things.
Hi ZenArcher-

I get occasional left side spasms/fasciculations that come and go at times in my neck-- They last a few seconds but nothing like you are depicting.. You may wanna call Dr S and see what he can do to relieve this-- It could be not just scary but serious if breathing is affected.

I've had this happen a few times maybe a dozen in the last 8 months. If I just stay relaxed its usually gone within several seconds. I may look into the Lorazepam but I'm fairly mellow to begin with more relaxed may not be a good thing :) I may go see my GP just to make sure that's what they are then we'll go from there.

Thanks for the responses.
Hi Zen - Just a follow-up. The Lorazapam works to relax the muscle. I am not sure whether that is under conscious control - but I have heard that it will release on its own. The problem could be that you might faint from lack of oxygen. The Lorazepam, in this case at least, is not for anxiety - it is to relax the muscle.

Now I am not an expert on this stuff - this is what is told to me by the ALS CLinic. But it is VERY common to have it on hand, and we have been very glad to have it. We have used it only 4 or 5 times in 2 years - but it was a godsend at those times. Maybe you can have it in the refrigerator just in case you want to use it.

Don't want to push - just want you to have something to ask your doctors about. Laryngospasms are really quite serious. In Pat's case she can not get air either in or out. Cannot call for help, no sound whatsoever - not even a wheeze.

Take care - Beth
I will definitely ask the question. My experience has been I can breath in very slowly and its difficult. I wheeze and try to relax. After about 30 - 45 seconds everything relaxes and I'm good to go again. Last night was the first time I had that feeling in the back of my throat like it needed cleared. I coughed and made all those wonderful noises that make young girls turn green and small animals run in terror to the point my throat hurt and it was still there. I'll give a call to both the GP and the clinic tomorrow and see what they have to say.

Don't worry about being pushy. I'm married with two teenage got nothin :)
here are a couple of things we learned about laryngeal spasms...

--they are most common in PALS who have asthma, or had it in childhood

--they WILL pass so try and stay calm (easier said than done, right?!)

--for us it was a sign of my husband needing to be on Bipap, they pretty much went away when he started (rather late) on Bipap.

--he got relief from Lorazepam pill, crushed, in feeding tube...but of course that takes a few minutes to work so the idea above of liquid sounds great.'

good luck! Beth (former CALS to husband Shannon)
Spoke with the nurse coordinator at the ALS clinic today about a different matter but asked about this while I had her on the phone. She said they normally treat it with low dose Baclofen (10 mg). I explained that this is a once in a great while thing and although its no fun while its happening it isn't really affecting me. So for now I'm good to go but under orders to call if it gets worse.
Timely Thread!

Thanks for bringing this up, Jeff. I must have had one of these laryngeal spasms the other day. I was drinking water, but I don't think I got any down the wrong way, and then suddenly I thought I was choking. I could hardly breathe in at all, for probably 1 or 2 minutes. My husband was scared to death and wanted to do a Heimlich on me, but was afraid he'd make it worse. Then it went away as suddenly as it came. Later that day I found this thread and thought, "That's what happened to me!" I've been having cramps in my neck, throat and chin muscles for the past year, but hadn't experienced THIS before. I'll ask my doctor about lorazepam liquid. That mellow feeling might not be so bad, either! :) I wouldn't have thought the larynx was a voluntary muscle -- never occurred to me that it could go into spasm or that it would cause choking if it did. Carol
Possible help for breathing attacks

I typically only have a breathing attack a few times a year. It usually occurs at night when I'm asleep. I wake up and feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. I grunt and struggle to breathe and feel like I'm going to pass out or die. It often take 30 - 45 seconds before I finally get a small amount of air going to where I feel okay.

I recently came down with a viral infection (cold). My throat was very sore and during a one hour period, I had 3 such attacks. My wife took me to the Emergency Room, where I promptly had another attack. (at least that got me to a nurse real quick). One nurse was going to put me on oxygen, when another one said no, to check my levels first. My oxygen was fine. The second nurse said I was experiencing vocal chord spasms, something that she's beem living with for many years. She sought out a lot of medical advice and found the best solution for any suck attack is to breathe from the nose, not the mouth!

The mouth and nose have different passageways and the nose passageway bypasses the spasm. She says the worst thing that could happen during these attacks is that you will pass out, go to a more relaxed state, and then the spasm relaxes and you can breathe again. When you can't breathe, the typical reaction is to use your mouth to get the air, because you can force more air in and out through your mouth than you can your nose, but the vocal chords are obstructing that air.

I was somewhat relieved to hear that breathing through your nose might be the solution, but not haing ever tried that before...........

Guess what? After getting home from the E R, I had another episode. I immediately tried breathing from my nose and it worked! The spasm was gone in less than 10 seconds. Later that night I had another attack and I breathed through my nose again and it absolutely worked again. It's almost like I'm not afraid of these spasms any more.

I don't know if this is the one thing that will help everyone else who has a similar problem, but if it helps any of you, I will have done my good deed.

My very best to all of you!

Thanks very much for the info and welcome to the forum!

My husband has these "attacks" almost everyday and we were given a cough assist or suction machine that my husband is reluctant to use. I will pass on your experience to him and see if it works for him!
Jeff, I am sitting here reading post after post from you Pals. I am a former Cal, and I feel like I need to find out more about this terrible disease. It struck home once, and I hope to Gid it never strikes again. I am trying to further my knowledge about Als, and be able to be of some help to people that I know. Take for instance I have a dear friend, that is about to be diagnosed'ed. I would like to be of some support to her, People do not deserve this. This is a monstrous disease. Every time when I read about the symptoms, and all the suffering that you Pals are enduring my heart goes out to you guys. I will continue to pray for each one of you. May God bless you all. A cure would be such a blessing to everyone.

Hello Germinator and welcome to the forum. You did do a good deed by sharing that! Thank you. Cindy
Well, I hope neither of us have this problem again but if I do I'll try to remember this. Thanks for the information and welcome to the forum.
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