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Monday, December 28, 2015

MS Patients Show Better Gait and Balance with Dalfampridine Treatment

Withdrawal/re-initiation study expands on known walking speed benefits of approved MS therapy

In a new study, researchers evaluated the effect of dalfampridine treatment in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and observed significant improvements in not only walking speed and distance, but also in gait and balance. The paper, titled “Dalfampridine Effects Beyond Walking Speed in Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the International Journal of MS Care.
MS is a debilitating disease in which cells of the immune system attack the central nervous system (CNS), namely nerve fibers and myelin, the element that covers and protects nerve cells. The symptoms and severity of MS vary greatly from patient to patient, although functional limitations such as walking/gait dysfunction and balance impairment are fairly common. Walking difficulties arise from factors such as muscle weakness, spasticity (muscle tightness), balance problems, sensory deficits, and fatigue.
Dalfampridine in extended release (ER) form (Ampyra extended-release tablets; Acorda Therapeutics Inc.) has been shown to rehabilitate conduction in demyelinated nerves in animals. Data from two Phase 3 clinical trials showing that dalfampridine-ER was able to improve walking speed in MS patients was key to its being granted approval in the United States in 2010.

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