Background Walking impairment is one of the major primary symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), which greatly affects their quality of life and emotional state.
Fampridine is a new oral treatment used to improve walking ability in adults with MS. Its use was approved by the EMA in 2011 for patients with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score between 4 and 7. Patients who do not experience clinical benefits (reported by the physician and patient) after two weeks’ treatment should discontinue fampridine. This condition was established due to the results of Phase III trials, which demonstrated improved walking ability in only 35–43% of the patients treated with fampridine and an increase in absolute walking speed in 20% of the patients.
Purpose To evaluate the effectiveness of sustained-release fampridine in patients with MS and walking disability, after 2 weeks of treatment.
Material and methods A one-year prospective, observational study. Patient characteristics (age, sex), clinical data (EDSS, clinical benefits perceived by the physician and patient) and treatment-related information (drug, dose and number of tablets dispensed) were obtained from the available databases in our hospital.
Results 91 patients started taking fampridine between October 2013 (when the Pharmacy Commission approved its use in our hospital) and October 2014. They were reviewed after two weeks of treatment by their neurologist and pharmacist to evaluate improvement in their walking ability and physical condition. In this reassessment, 71 patients (78%) showed an improvement in their walking ability and moving speed, and continued the treatment. Only 18 of these (25%) experienced a reduction of their EDSS (mean 0.5 points). None of them suffered adverse effects due to fampridine.
Conclusion Our patients responded better than anticipated from the clinical trials. Although fampridine has shown limited efficacy it covers a current treatment gap in this disease.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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