03 October 2011
Author: MS Trust
Fampridine, a drug that can improve walking in MS, has been launched in the UK.
Fampridine, taken as one 10mg tablet twice daily, was granted a conditional marketing authorisation by the European Commission in July 2011 to improve walking in adult patients with MS who have walking disability (defined as scoring 4-7 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale).
The marketing authorisation is conditional on Biogen Idec (the pharmaceutical company marketing fampridine in the UK) conducting further research about the benefits and long-term safety of fampridine.
NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), which issues guidance on whether treatments should be funded by the NHS, has not appraised fampridine. Decisions on whether or not to fund treatment will be made by local primary care trusts and funding boards.
Walking problems affect a large proportion of people with MS and may be caused by a wide variety of factors. Not everyone taking fampridine will see improvements in walking. In clinical trials, approximately one third to one half of people taking fampridine found walking speed improved, with an average improvement of about 25%. Fampridine may be effective for those whose walking impairment has been caused by reduced nerve transmission. Fampridine works by blocking some of the chemical processes in nerves to allow electrical signals to continue travelling along damaged nerves to stimulate muscles.
Speak to your MS nurse or neurologist if you would like to find out more about fampridine and whether it may be right for you.