Clinical overview of the seizure risk of dalfampridine.

Montefiore Medical Center, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.
Expert Opinion on Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.74). 06/2012; 11(4):651-7. DOI: 10.1517/14740338.2012.697896
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION: Dalfampridine extended release tablets (dalfampridine-ER; known as prolonged-, modified or sustained-release fampridine in some countries) is a potassium channel blocker approved at 10 mg taken every 12 h, for the improvement of walking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This has been demonstrated by an increase in walking speed. Its mechanism of action and narrow therapeutic range suggest the need to evaluate the seizure risk in treated MS patients. AREAS COVERED: This paper discusses the seizure risk in clinical trials, and postmarketing experience of dalfampridine, relative to that in patients with MS. Electroencephalography as a predictive screening tool for seizure risk in dalfampridine-treated patients is also discussed. EXPERT OPINION: The apparent seizure risk at the recommended dose of dalfampridine among patients with no prior seizure history may not be greater than the risk already present in the MS population. For MS patients, dalfampridine represents a promising new therapy for the improvement of walking impairment; its quick onset of action allows rapid determination of therapeutic response. The lack of prognostic value of electroencephalography for determining seizure risk suggests that treatment can be initiated without further screening when patients have no other contraindications. Strict adherence to the prescribed dosing regimen is essential.

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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to characterize the prescribing of dalfampridine extended release (D-ER) 10 mg tablet treatment in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). A retrospective cohort study was performed using Medco pharmacy and medical claims. Medical claims were used to identify MS patients with more than one prescription for D-ER with 1 year of prior continuous enrollment (n=704). These patients were matched 2:1 on age, sex, and health insurance source with a comparison group of MS patients who were treatment naïve for D-ER (n=1,403). Categorical data were analyzed by χ (2) test; ordinal data by Wilcoxon rank sum test; and continuous data by Student's t-test. Most patients were women aged 45-64 years. In the year preceding D-ER initiation, the prevalence of seizure and renal impairment was numerically lower in the D-ER cohort relative to those who were D-ER naïve (seizure: 3.1% versus 4.7%, respectively; renal impairment: 4.3% versus 5.1%, respectively); however, prescriptions for antiepileptic drugs in the two cohorts were comparable. In the year preceding treatment initiation, 62% of the D-ER cohort was prescribed MS-specific disease-modifying therapies relative to 45% who were D-ER naïve. Seizure and renal impairment rates among D-ER-naïve patients were consistent with published literature, yet rates among those prescribed D-ER during the year preceding treatment initiation were slightly lower than rates among D-ER-naïve patients. Given that D-ER is contraindicated in patients with history of seizure or moderate or severe renal impairment, lower rates may indicate that risk-minimization strategies contributed to the lower prevalence.
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    ABSTRACT: Walking impairment is a clinical hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS). Dalfampridine-ER, an extended-release formulation of dalfampridine (also known by its chemical name, 4-aminopyridine, and its international nonproprietary name, fampridine), was developed to maintain drug plasma levels within a narrow therapeutic window, and assessed for its ability to improve walking in MS. The putative mechanism of action of dalfampridine-ER is restoration of axonal conduction via blockade of the potassium channels that become exposed during axonal demyelination. Two pivotal phase III clinical trials demonstrated that dalfampridine-ER 10-mg tablets administered twice daily improved walking speed and patient-reported perceptions of walking in some patients. Dalfampridine-ER was generally well tolerated, and, at the approved dose, risk of seizure was neither elevated relative to placebo nor higher than the rate in the MS population. Dalfampridine-ER (AMPYRA®) was approved in the United States for the treatment of walking in patients with MS as demonstrated by an increase in walking speed. The use of the dalfampridine-ER is contraindicated in patients with a history of seizure. It is the first pharmacologic therapy for this indication and has been incorporated into clinical management of MS.
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    ABSTRACT: Fampridine is indicated to improve walking in adult multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Indications vary between countries and the prescribing neurologist should be aware of the labeling and indication in his own country. The prolonged-release formulation of 4-aminopyridine has reduced the risk of seizure to a level near the intrinsic MS risk, and the risk can be further minimized if it emphasized that patients should not exceed the recommended dose of 10 mg twice a day, should not catch up on missed doses and should not divide, crush or chew tablets. It is imperative to check the renal function before and during treatment and make sure the patient does not get concomitant medications affecting the renal elimination. The use of fampridine is considered safe, and the side effects are often mild and acceptable. Approximately one-third of MS patients treated with fampridine will experience an improvement of their walking speed above 20% on the timed 25-foot walk test (T25FW), which is considered to be clinically relevant.
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