#ACTRIMS2018 – Ampyra Also Aids Cognition, Use of Extremities in MS Patients

#ACTRIMS2018 – Ampyra Also Aids Cognition, Use of Extremities in MS Patients

Ampyra (dalfampridine), approved to treat walking difficulties in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, also helps with cognition and movement in the upper and lower extremities, according to a recent scientific presentation.

These findings were reported at the 3rd Annual Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2018 in San Diego, California this month, in a poster titled “Extremities and Cognition: Fampridine Effect.”

Approved in 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and marketed by Acorda Therapeutics, Ampyra has been shown to significantly improve walking ability in patients with MS. (In Europe and elsewhere outside the U.S., it is sold by Biogen under the brand name Fampyra (fampridine), in an agreement with Acorda.)

Researchers at Dokuz Eylul University, in Turkey, evaluated the effectiveness of fampridine (Fampyra/Ampyra) on MS symptoms besides walking.

Recruited from an outpatient MS clinic at the university’s hospital, 134 walking-impaired patients were treated with fampridine and results compared to  77 healthy individuals also in the study. Neurological, physical and cognitive evaluations were performed at its start and again after six months.

MS patients with cognitive impairment had significantly worse performance in several of the physical tests compared to patients without cognition problems.

At baseline, or study start, the researchers found a strong correlation between upper extremity abilities (assessed through the 9-Hole Peg Test) and the results of two cognitive assessment tests — the symbol digit modalities test (SDMT; assessing organic cerebral dysfunction) and the paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT).

At six months of treatment, patients showed significant improvements in both physical and cognitive parameters. But physical improvement was found to be more pronounced in those with no baseline cognitive impairment.

Still, both patient groups, with and without cognitive difficulties, had a similar response on physical tests.

The researchers concluded that “fampridine has positive effects on cognitive, upper and lower extremity functions” in MS patients with impaired walking. In addition, these results demonstrated that cognitive function is “associated with both upper and lower extremity functions,” they wrote, and “this association was more prominent in information processing speed.”

Overall, this study further demonstrated the long-term benefits of Ampyra/Fampyra on physical performance in MS patients, and added new insights into cognitive function in this patient population.

7 comments

  1. Chantal Vezeau says:

    I just start taking fampyra and we are now February 8 and today for the first time in months that I had difficulty walking without my walker, stand up to pull my pants, took me many tries to pull them up, a lot of problem writing and signing my name. Since on the fampyra ,I stand long enough to pull up my pants, walking with my back strait, able to use my hand 100% better for now I can’t wait to see how I’m going in the year.

  2. charles says:

    just don’t overdose. ampyra is a great drug, but be careful with it. if you miss a dose, don’t just double the next one. I had a seizure that way, and it was really not fun. emergency room stuff.

  3. Juana Driver says:

    I have loved Ampyra since day one! High hopes for the drug and it did not fail me! Definitely upper extremities improvements. THANK YOU for update!

  4. Mary Lightfoot says:

    Have been taking Ampyra for a few years now. Lately I got the news that the patient assistance program that has helped me pay for the med is unavailable now since they said the generic will be available sometime is year. Still searching for another assistance program.

    • Julie Dilbeck says:

      I’m in the same situation as Mary Lightfoot (above). I’ve been searching for an assistance program to help with the $800 copay that I need to refill my prescription in a couple of weeks. The Ampyra company (Acorda) no longer offers help with copays. I’ve checked all the assistance foundations that Acorda has suggested, and none of them have funds for MS patients at this time.

      I have been taking Ampyra for several years, and can definitely see a worsening of symptoms when I have to miss doses. I’ve had insurance coverage issues off and on through the years. I’ve had to go without Ampyra for periods of time because my insurance didn’t cover it, and I not only have more trouble walking, I also have more overall weakness, including impaired reasoning.

  5. Kimberly Childers says:

    I have been taking Ampyra for 5 plus years and will never stop, it works. Do take it as per instructions!!
    Eating organic and healthy works too and I will never stop that either.

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