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Ampyra Aids Cognition and Use of Extremities in MS Patients

February 9, 2018

Researchers have found that in addition to treating walking difficulties in multiple sclerosis patients, the drug Ampyra (dalfampridine) also helps with cognition and movement in the upper and lower extremities.

The treatment, sold by Biogen under the name Fampyra outside the US, has previously shown to significantly improve walking ability in those with MS.

Researchers from Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey evaluated the efficiency of Fampyra/Amprya on MS symptoms besides walking. 134 walking-impaired patients were treated with the drug and compared to 77 healthy individuals; neurological, physical and cognitive evaluations were performed at its start and then again after six months.

Patients with cognitive impairment had significantly worse performance in a variety of the physical tests in comparison to patients without any cognition problems.

At the start of the study, researchers found a strong correlation between the upper extremity abilities (assessed through the 9-hold peg test) and results of the two cognitive assessment tests. These tests were the symbol digit modalities test (SDMT) and the paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT).

After six months of treatment, patients displayed significant improvements in both physical and cognitive parameters. Physical improvement, on the other hand, was found to be more pronounced in those with no baseline cognitive impairment.

Both patient groups, including those with and without cognitive difficulties, had similar responses on physical tests.

Researchers had concluded that “Fampridine has positive effects on cognitive, upper and lower extremity functions” in patients that have walking impairments. Results also established that cognitive function is “associated with both the upper and lower extremities functions.”

In conclusion, this study has further demonstrated the long-term benefits of Ampyra on physical performance in multiple sclerosis patients and has added new insights into cognitive function in this particular patient population.