Ampyra (dalfampridine) shows long-term efficacy in improving walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis, according to a study evaluating the treatment’s use in progressive and relapsing MS patients over two years.
The study, “Monitoring long-term efficacy of fampridine in gait-impaired patients with multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Neurology.
Ampyra (known as Fampyra [fampridine] in Europe) is currently the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve walking in adults with MS, a function severely impaired in about 75 percent of these patients. Prolonged-release Ampyra capsules improve signal conduction in nerve fibers damaged by MS, a result of immune system attacks against myelin.
While short-term treatment with prolonged-release Ampyra has shown beneficial effects on patents’ walking speed and endurance, the therapy’s long-term safety and efficacy was also investigated.
Researchers at the University of Zurich performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the two-year effects of prolonged-release Ampyra on walking ability. It was an extension of the FAMPKIN trial (NCT01576354), in which enrolled patients were treated for six weeks with either oral placebo or prolonged-release Ampyra.
Of 55 patients who completed FAMPKIN, 53 enrolled in the two-year Ampyra extension trial. Investigators used several functional tests, including the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW), 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), and 12-item MS Walking Scale (MSWS-12) to determine patient outcomes.
Results confirmed the good tolerability of prolonged-release Ampyra in as a long-term MS treatment, and a positive impact on walking speed and endurance.
“[W]e found a significant correlation between functional improvements in the clinical gait tests … and the self-perceived walking ability,” Dr. Linard Filli, the published study’s lead author and a researcher with the FAMPKIN trial, said in an interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today.
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