MS Patients Show Better Gait and Balance with Dalfampridine Treatment

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail
walking speed, distance

In a new study, researchers evaluated the effect of dalfampridine treatment in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and observed significant improvements in not only walking speed and distance, but also in gait and balance. The paper, titled “Dalfampridine Effects Beyond Walking Speed in Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the International Journal of MS Care.

MS is a debilitating disease in which cells of the immune system attack the central nervous system (CNS), namely nerve fibers and myelin, the element that covers and protects nerve cells. The symptoms and severity of MS vary greatly from patient to patient, although functional limitations such as walking/gait dysfunction and balance impairment are fairly common. Walking difficulties arise from factors such as muscle weakness, spasticity (muscle tightness), balance problems, sensory deficits, and fatigue.

Dalfampridine in extended release (ER) form (Ampyra extended-release tablets; Acorda Therapeutics Inc.) has been shown to rehabilitate conduction in demyelinated nerves in animals. Data from two Phase 3 clinical trials showing that dalfampridine-ER was able to improve walking speed in MS patients was key to its being granted approval in the United States in 2010.

To investigate if the improved walking ability resulted from changes in gait and balance, researchers assessed dalfampridine-ER treatment’s impact on these two parameters in patients who received the drug as part of their regular MS clinical care plan and had shown improved walking speed.

The study was divided into three consecutive periods: first, a drug screening phase with evaluations on day one and one week later; second, a period of dalfampridine-ER withdrawal and off-drug evaluations on days five and 11; and third, reinitialized drug treatment in patients, with a final evaluation on day 15. All 20 patients enrolled were pre-tested for response to dalfampridine-ER. The withdrawal/reinitiation protocol, in the absence of a placebo controlled method, helps researchers understand if the observed clinical effect is a direct consequence of the treatment.

The results showed that scores for gait and balance worsened during the second trial period in comparison to the first, whereas they improved in the final period. Balance composite scores did not change significantly between study periods. Walking speed and the mean overall gait score were found to be significantly higher in the on-drug periods when compared to the off-drug period.

“The results of this study provide evidence that not only supports the benefits of dalfampridine-ER on walking, as demonstrated by improvements in speed and distance, but also expands these benefits to include parameters of gait and balance,” the researchers concluded.

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail


  1. Charles Finn, MD says:

    All these drugs are BS. I’ve been on them all and none change the natural history. They make pharmacieutucal companies millions if not billions of dollars. These companies will sell their soul to the devil for 2 cents. Their unethical and publish garbage case studies with with forgone conclusions before the first drug is administered.
    Although Ampyra does not seam to have any serious medical complications it will drain your bank account. The pretty ex-cheerleader shows up in the neurologist office in a short skirt and bang your on one of these drugs.

    As people with MS know symptoms can change minute to minute. A 10 minute exam by a neurologist can in know way determine the efficacy of any drug. It either works or it doesn’t. It ridiculous to conclude the drugs lessen relapses or partially help symptoms. It’s all or none. The number of lesions or activity on your MRI has nothing to do with your symptomotology.

    Let’s talk about the monoclonal antibodies (eg. Tysabri). Besides the risk of PML were you told in 10 years you will probably have lymphoma.

    I could go on and on about other drugs and complications but I think I’ve made the point. Watch the movie The Fugitive with Harrison Ford and you will understand what these pharmacietical companies care about (draining your bank account and nothing more).

    Last, the etiology of the disease is not fully known.

    A retired MD with MS

    • Jjohnston says:

      Fampyra which is the Canadian name for amphora I have been on for a couple years now and it worked amazingly well on my primary progressive ms. Two to three days after I was on it I walked up about a hundred or so steps to go on a zip line which I also did and loved it! I go to a support group once a month with a bunch of people and I know of two or three in which tried palmyra and it did not help them, but It does not mean I will stop taking it because it still works for me. I think if you don’t try some medications you may miss out on something that works very well and helps you have a little better until they find a cure or some better medications. Hang in there!

    • Charles Finn, MD says:

      I have taken Ampyra for months and in the long term it only helps pharmaceutical companies. I’m glad you feel it helps and that is all that matters. One other note, you can get the exact same active chemical compound at more than a 1/4 the cost through a compound pharmacy depending on your insurance. Read the disclaimer about not taking the generic compound. They don’t want you taking double the dose. Don’t go on line and read pharmaceuticals propaganda. It’s all case studies where neurologist are given incentives to report positive results. Have you ever seen the young pretty cheerleadering looking girl in a tight skirt and low profile top sitting in your neurologist office with food. It’s given to your doctor and the office staff. There is also expensive dinners on a routine basis with expensive wine for the Docs. She works for the Ampyra company. Not to mention the BS case studies where the Docs are paid to report the results. The last time I did a level 1 evidence study search there was not one reported. These are the real honest medical studies. Good luck, save yourself money and get it from a compound pharmacy.

  2. Etosha meeks says:

    Well I just started these shots it my seven one it make me feel good but my walking or balance haven’t got any better yet

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *