Ampyra is approved to treat certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults (age 18 and older). Specifically, it is used to improve walking in people with MS. Ampyra works by blocking potassium channels, which can help nerve signals travel down the nerves that have been damaged by MS.
Ampyra™ (dalfampridine) is a prescription medication used to improve walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) disease and is the leading cause of disability among young adults. Multiple sclerosis research has shown that the nerves of people with MS have damaged myelin, the fatty covering that insulates nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin facilitates the smooth, high-speed transmission of electrochemical messages between the brain, the spinal cord, and the rest of the body.
When myelin is damaged, transmission of messages through that part of the nervous system may be slowed or blocked completely, leading to diminished or lost function. It is not known exactly what causes this damaging process to occur (see Multiple Sclerosis Causes for more information).
Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of balance
- Blurred or double vision and/or eye pain
- Fatigue (see Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue).
As the disease progresses, other possible multiple sclerosis symptoms include:
- Muscle stiffness, also known as spasticity (see Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis)
- Loss of bladder control
- Depression (see Multiple Sclerosis and Depression)
- Memory loss.
Many of the symptoms of MS can affect a person's ability to walk normally and quickly. Slow walking can be one of the most frustrating aspects of MS because it is so visible to others. Ampyra has been shown to increase walking speed in people with MS. Most of the people in clinical studies were also taking other multiple sclerosis medications, but positive results in walking speed were not related to the use of such medications.