Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

MS Drug Ampyra Gets FDA Nod

Ampyra Improves Walking in Many Multiple Sclerosis Patients
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 22, 2010 - The FDA has approved Ampyra (dalfampridine), which improves walking ability in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS).

About three-fourths of MS patients have trouble walking, and 70% of those with walking problems say this is the most challenging aspect of their disease.

Ampyra is taken with other MS drugs and does not keep MS from getting worse, says Andrew D. Goodman, MD, director of the MS center at the University of Rochester, N.Y. Goodman led some of the clinical trials that led to the drug's approval.

"A large segment of people with MS have difficulty walking, and we have found that it helps some patients -- 35% in one study and 42% in another -- to consistently walk faster," Goodman tells WebMD. "Among those who do walk faster, they improve about 25% from baseline. These patients said they could walk longer distances, be on their feet longer, climb stairs better, and better perform other walking functions."

Ampyra does not change the course of MS disease, but enhances nerve function.

"There is no indication this type of treatment slows the progressive nature of the disease process," Goodman says. "But there is every indication that at whatever level of function an MS patient may have, there may still be room for improvement with this type of treatment."

The drug is by no means risk-free. Ampryra is a new formulation of a drug called fampridine, which was originally used as a bird poison.

Some 20 years ago, test tube studies suggested that fampridine could improve nerve conduction. Since then, some neurologists -- Goodman is not one of them -- have ordered the drug from compounding pharmacies for their MS patients.

At doses higher than the approved dose -- 10 milligrams twice daily -- Ampyra can cause seizures. The drug cannot be used by MS patients with a history of seizure, or by those with moderate-to-severe kidney disease. The drug cannot be taken with other forms of fampridine.

Side effects seen in clinical trials include urinary tract infection, insomnia, dizziness, headache, nausea, back pain, loss of muscle strength, balance disorder, multiple sclerosis relapse, tingling or numbness in the extremities, nose or throat inflammation, constipation, upset stomach, and throat pain.

Ampyra is made by Acorda Therapeutics of Hawthorne, N.Y. Acorda says the drug should be available in the U.S. in March. It will be sold through a network of specialty pharmacies coordinated by Ampyra Support Services at 888-881-1918.

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm