POTASSIUM CHANNEL BLOCKER
Dalfampridine is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve walking speed in adults with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). It is the first drug approved for this purpose. Dalfampridine is sold under the brand name Ampyra. Dalfampridine is not a cure for MS, but it can help reduce symptoms related to walking.
Dalfampridine may not be appropriate for people with kidney problems or a history of seizures. It is unknown whether Dalfampridine is safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Dalfampridine is a potassium channel blocker. Dalfampridine is believed to work by blocking potassium channels on nerves, increasing conductivity of nerve signals. In other words, it improves communication routes between your brain and your body that are damaged by demyelination in MS.
How do I take it?
Dalfampridine comes in extended-release tablets. The maximum dosage of Dalfampridine is one 10 mg tablet twice daily, 12 hours apart. The tablets should be swallowed whole, not crushed or dissolved. They may be taken with or without food.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Dalfampridine.
The FDA approved Dalfampridine (Ampyra) in 2010 based on two clinical studies. In both trials, effectiveness was measured in terms of walking speed. In the first study, 301 people with MS were either given Dalfampridine or a placebo for 21 weeks. At the end of the trial, 34.8 percent of those taking Dalfampridine had shown significant increase in walking speed versus 8.3 percent of those taking the placebo.
In the second trial, 239 people with MS either received Dalfampridine or a placebo for 14 weeks. At the end of the trial, 42.9 percent of those taking Dalfampridine had shown significant increase in walking speed versus 9.3 percent of those taking the placebo.
Dalfampridine can cause seizures in anyone. There is increased likelihood of seizures if you are taking higher doses of Dalfampridine; if you crush or break the tablet; if you take doses too close together; if you have had a seizure before; or if you have kidney problems. Discontinue taking Dalfampridine and notify your doctor if you experience a seizure.
Other possible side effects of Dalfampridine include bladder or kidney infections, insomnia, dizziness, headache and weakness.
Dalfampridine can also cause allergic reactions. Get medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.