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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Ampyra and Multiple Sclerosis

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About three-fourths of people with MS have trouble walking. It can be one of the most challenging parts of the condition.

Dalfampridine (Ampyra) is a medication that helps you get around more easily. Unlike other MS treatments, it won’t keep symptoms from getting worse or change the course of the disease -- it’s just intended to improve how you walk.

Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

What to Expect With Relapsing-Remitting MS

When you have relapsing-remitting MS, you'll find that your symptoms come and go. You may have a flare-up that lasts a few days or more and then long stretches when you feel much better. But through it all, you'll likely be able to keep up with most of the things that are important to you. "Most patients continue to work, exercise, have a family, and enjoy most of their regular activities," says neurologist Ann Cabot, DO. And if your flares become frequent or intense, there are treatments to help...

Read the What to Expect With Relapsing-Remitting MS article > >

How It Works

Ampyra helps electrical signals move better along the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. When you have MS, your nerves lose the protective coating, called myelin, that helps messages zip up and down your body. That means your muscles don’t get clear signals that tell them when and how to move.

Ampyra restores the flow of those signals and helps your nerves send their messages more effectively.

How Do You Take It?

You’ll need a prescription from your doctor. You take one 10-milligram tablet twice a day, 12 hours apart. You should never take more than one pill at once or more than two in 24 hours.

You can take Ampyra with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole. Don’t break, crush, chew, or dissolve them before you take them. That could release the medication too fast in your body, possibly causing a seizure.

Take only the dose your doctor prescribes. If you miss a dose, don't double up on the next one. If you take a higher dose or take them less than 12 hours apart, you can increase your risk of a seizure. If that happens, stop taking the drug and call your doctor right away.

Side Effects of Ampyra

The most common ones include:

Some people also had relapses of their MS when they took the drug. Let your doctor know if you have any side effects.

Before You Take Ampyra

Talk with your doctor about whether it's the best medication for you and your symptoms.

You should not take the drug if you:

  • Are taking compounded 4-aminopyridine (fampridine, 4-AP)
  • Have had seizures before
  • Have moderate to severe kidney problems

Tell your doctor if you:

You should also let your doctor know if you take any other prescription or over-the-counter meds, including any vitamins and supplements.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on October 11, 2014
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