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.
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:
- Urinary tract infections
- Trouble sleeping
- Back pain
- Balance problems
- Irritation of the nose and throat, or a sore throat
- Burning, tingling, or itching on the skin
- Constipation or diarrhea
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:
- Have other medical problems, like urinary tract infections
- Are pregnant or want to have a baby
- Are breastfeeding or plan to start