Ampyra [am-PEER-ah], the brand name for a new drug named fampridine-SR, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The new drug is the first Multiple Sclerosis drug to enhance some neurological functioning for MS patients.
Dr. Andrew Goodman, chief of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Multiple Sclerosis Center, and his colleague Steven Schwid, M.D. who died in 2008, have studied the newly approved drug for more than 10 years.
Because most MS treatments are studied in terms of the way they slow the disease progression or prevent relapses, this medication required a new way of thinking about evaluating a Multiple Sclerosis medication. Because fampridine-SR restores some function, the study protocols developed at URMC were designed to measure functional outcomes. One study protocol measured the walking speed improvements over 25 feet.
According to the news release on the URMC web site, a significant number of study participants with Multiple Sclerosis increased walking speed by 25%, reported they could walk farther, climb stairs better and stand longer.
As with all MS drugs and therapies, there are significant potential side effects. The Ampyra Medication Guide offers these safety precautions:
- “Your chance of having a seizure is higher if you take too much AMPYRA or if you have kidney problems.
- Do not take AMPYRA if you have ever had a seizure.
- Before taking AMPYRA tell your doctor if you have kidney problems.
- Take AMPYRA exactly as prescribed by your doctor.”