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Ampyra and Multiple Sclerosis

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What Are the Benefits of Ampyra for Multiple Sclerosis?

About three-fourths of people with MS have difficulty walking and many find walking problems to be among the most debilitating effects of the disease. In clinical trials, patients treated with Ampyra were able to walk faster than those receiving an inactive pill, or placebo.

Ampyra is the first drug approved to improve walking in MS patients. Other treatments for MS are designed to slow disease progression and prevent relapses by suppressing the immune system, which is believed to be involved in the myelin damage.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Ampyra?

In clinical trials of Ampyra, the most common side effects included:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Back pain
  • Balance problems
  • Irritation of the nose and throat or sore throat
  • Burning, tingling, or itching of skin
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Some patients also experienced a relapse of their MS.

Before You Take Ampyra

Have a conversation with your doctor before taking Ampyra. Discuss the risks and benefits of MS medications and have a clear understanding of your treatment choices.

Do not take Ampyra if you:

  • Are taking compounded 4-aminopyridine (fampridine, 4-AP)
  • Have a history of seizures
  • Have moderate to severe kidney impairment

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Have other medical problems, including urinary tract infections
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

You should also let your doctor know if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements.

After You Begin Taking Ampyra

It's important that you take only the dose your doctor prescribes. If you miss a dose, don't double up on the next one. Taking a higher dose or taking doses closer than 12 hours apart can increase your risk of a seizure. If you experience a seizure while taking Ampyra, stop taking the drug and call your doctor immediately.

You should also let your doctor know if you:

  • Experience other side effects of Ampyra
  • Begin taking any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs
  • Become pregnant

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jon Glass on September 01, 2012
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