Fampridine Aids Mobility in MS Patients

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Acorda has been developing fampridine, a drug that may aid MS patients in their ability to walk.

In an effort to aid mobility in MS patients, Acorda has been developing fampridine (4-aminopyridine), a drug that may aid MS patients in their ability to walk. With two Phase 3 clinical trials under its belt, the most recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that walking ability improved during a timed 25-foot walk among patients taking fampridine-SR.

“Difficulties with walking are among the most pervasive and debilitating problems faced by people with MS. Walking disability affects their ability to accomplish daily tasks and limits their independence,” said Andrew Goodman, M.D., Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the University of Rochester, in a recent news release.

The drug differs from current immunomodulators, which work to either stimulate or suppress the immune system. As MS strips away the myelin sheaths that cover the nerves, the potassium channels are exposed and leak potassium ions into body. This reduces and even eliminates nerve impulse conduction, causing problems with walking or other motor functions. Fampridine molecules aim to connect the potassium ion leakage sites, allowing nerve impulses to pass through again.

The molecule has been around a long time and was not originally created with this intent. The drug was first created from coal tar in the 1890s. Today, in the agriculture industry, fampridine is frequently used in high doses as a bird poison, known as Avitrol.

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