1st week of using AMPYRA
What Is Ampyra (Dalfampridine)?
Ampyra is the brand name of the generic drug dalfampridine, which is used to improve walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is a disease that causes weakness, numbness, loss of coordination, and other problems due to improper nerve function.
In clinical trials, people treated with Ampyra had faster walking speeds than those who received a placebo (inactive pill).
Ampyra belongs to a class of drugs called potassium channel blockers. The exact way the drug works is unknown, but it's thought to improve nerve function.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ampyra in 2010. It's marketed by Acorda Therapeutics.
Before taking Ampyra, tell your doctor if you have, or have ever had:
- Kidney disease
- An abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG — a test that measures electrical activity in the brain)
- Allergies to medications
Also, you shouldn't take Ampyra with other forms of 4-aminopyridine medicines (fampridine, 4-AP) because the active ingredient is the same.
High doses of Ampyra could increase your risk of experiencing seizures. Be sure to follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully to avoid this potential side effect.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory while taking Ampyra. Your doctor will probably want to order frequent tests to monitor your body's response to the medicine.
Pregnancy and Ampyra
It's not known whether Ampyra could harm a fetus. Tell your doctor if you're pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, before starting on this medicine.
It's also not known whether the drug passes into breastmilk or could hurt a breastfeeding baby. Don't breastfeed while taking Ampyra.
Ampyra Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Ampyra
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or don't go away:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Mild back pain
- Pain or irritation of the nose or throat
Serious Side Effects of Ampyra
Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Difficult, painful, or frequent urination
- Fever or chills
- Severe pain in the back, side, or stomach
- Worsening of MS symptoms
- Problems with balance
- Burning, tingling, or itching of the skin
- Signs of a severe allergic reaction (may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially those listed in the Ampyra Warnings section above.
Ampyra comes as an extended-release tablet to take by mouth, usually twice a day.
Your dose will depend on your medical condition and other factors.
A typical dose for adults is 10 milligrams (mg) twice a day, about hours apart.
Ampyra can be taken with or without food.
Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully when taking this medicine. Don't take more Ampyra than is recommended.
Don't split, chew, or crush the tablets. Swallow them whole.
A broken tablet may release too much Ampyra at one time.
Don't take more than two tablets in a 24-hour period.
Symptoms of an Ampyra overdose may include:
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Memory loss
- Problems with speech
If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Ampyra
If you miss a dose of Ampyra, skip it and continue with your regular medication schedule.
Don't take more than two doses of Ampyra in a 24-hour period.
Never double up on a dose to make up for a missed one.
Q: I want to know about Acorda's multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra. Where can I get it and how much does it cost?
A: Ampyra (dalfampridine) is available through specialty pharmacies. Your health care provider can determine if you are a candidate for Ampyra and must submit a form to your insurance company to see if it will pay for the medication. The most recent cost I could find is about ,100 per month for 60 tablets. Gerald Levy, RPh
Q: I've been taking Ampyra twice a day for about 5 weeks but have not seen a significant improvement in my gait. Is it still possible that the drug will work for me? How long should it take before seeing the maximum result?
A: Ampyra (dalfampridine) is recommended at a dose of 10mg twice daily, unless the kidneys are not working well. If you do not have normal kidney function, you may get too high of an amount built up in your system, which can lead to seizures. However, if your kidneys are fine, and you have no history of seizures, it sounds like your dose could go up, if your doctor wanted to do so. You should have seen a significant improvement by now. The medication may not work for everyone, but if you are only taking Ampyra, other medication may be added to it. Consult your doctor to see what else can be done. For more information on multiple sclerosis, please visit The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and our link at: //mymsaa.org/, and //www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/ Patti Brown, PharmD
Q: What is the new drug for multiple sclerosis? Ampyra?What does it do?
A: Ampyra (dalfampridine) is a calcium channel blocker that improves walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). (//www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/). Common side effects of Ampyra include constipation, dizziness, headache, nausea, and upset stomach. A search of prescribing information did not report an increase risk of ulcerative colitis. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Ampyra For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your healthcare providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects. Tell your health-care provider about any negative side effects from prescription drugs. You can also report them to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
Q: This is a pretty new drug but can Ampyra cause a colitis flare-up?
A: Ampyra (dalfampridine) is a calcium channel blocker that improves walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). (//www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/). Common side effects of Ampyra include constipation, dizziness, headache, nausea, and upset stomach. A search of prescribing information did not report an increase risk of ulcerative colitis. This is not a complete list of side effects associated with Ampyra, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals, as well as foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your healthcare providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescriptions and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and advise you about drug interactions and side effects. Tell your health-care provider about any negative side effects from prescription drugs. You can also report them to the U.S Food and Drug Administration by visiting //www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
Q: Can I take a sleep aid while on Ampyra?
A: There are no drug interactions listed between Ampyra and specific sleep aids in the package insert for Ampyra. Consult with your health care provider about which sleep aid may be the best for you and your health situation. This information is solely educational. It's important to consult with your physician or health care provider about any specific questions regarding your medical conditions or medications; particularly before taking any action. You can also find helpful information on multiple sclerosis at //www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/. Kristen Dore, PharmD
Q: I have just started taking Ampyra. Is it okay to take as needed, or are two doses a day necessary for efficacy?
A: Your question regards taking Ampyra (dalfampridine) and if it should be taken as needed or taken at two doses every day. Ampyra is dosed for adults at 10 mg every 12 hours with a maximum of 20 mg a day. There is no mention of using it "as needed". Ampyra should be taken exactly as your doctor has told you to take it. As always, please talk to your health care provider regarding questions you have about the dosing of your medications. The following link provides valuable information from Everyday Health regarding multiple sclerosis. //www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/. Jen Marsico, RPh
Q: Can Ampyra cause seizures?
A: According to the prescribing information approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Ampyra can cause seizures, and the risk of seizures increases with increasing doses of Ampyra. Ampyra is contraindicated (must not be used) in a person with a history of seizures. If a seizure occurs while on Ampyra, it must be discontinued. Ampyra became available in the United States in March 2010 through a network of mail away specialty pharmacies. Ampyra is a potassium blocker that has been approved by the FDA to improve walking in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. It is thought that Ampyra blocks potassium channels on nerves allowing nerve conduction to improve, thereby improving walking. In a survey of over 1000 MS patients and their family members, two-thirds of the patients reported difficulty in walking. It was reported that difficulty walking in some MS patients restricted the activities in their daily lives and also travel. Ampyra has been shown to increase walking speed in MS patients. In the patients that did increase walking speed, there was also an increase in leg strength. Ampyra is used to treat symptoms of MS; it is not a disease modifying medication. According to the prescribing information, no clinically significant drug interactions were identified. Ampyra is a tablet that is taken by mouth twice daily, 12 hours apart. Some of the reported side effects of Ampyra include: headache, dizziness, urinary tract infection, falls, sleeplessness, tiredness, and balance disorder. Ampyra is approved for use for all types of MS; however it should not be taken in a patient with a history of seizures or moderate to severe renal impairment. Kristen Dore, PharmD
Q: What are the side effects of Ampyra?
A: Ampyra (dalfampridine) is a potassium channel blocker used to help improve walking in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This was shown by an increase in walking speed. The most common side effects associated with Ampyra include urinary tract infection, trouble sleeping (insomnia), dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, back pain, problems with balance, multiple sclerosis relapse, burning, tingling or itching of your skin, irritation in your nose and throat, constipation, indigestion, and pain in your throat. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD
Q: I am taking Ampyra for MS. I get stomach aches at times. Is this normal?
A: According to the prescribing information, the most commonly reported side effects associated with Ampyra (dalfampridine) include upset stomach, urinary tract infection, difficulty sleeping, headache, nausea, weakness, back pain, constipation, stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat or mild itching. If you have been experiencing bothersome, or worsening, stomach upset, consult with your health care provider for proper evaluation, diagnosis of the underlying cause and possible treatment options. Ampyra is classified as a potassium channel blocker. Ampyra is indicated to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). More serious side effects may occur and require the immediate attention of your health care provider including balance problems, relapse or worsening of MS symptoms, numbness, burning or a tingling feeling or seizures. Take Ampyra exactly as directed by your doctor. Ampyra is typically taken once every 12 hours. Do not take more than two tablets in a 24 hour period. Never double your dose of Ampyra if you miss a dose. Ampyra may be taken with or without food and should be swallowed whole. Do not divide, crush, chew, break or dissolve Ampyra tablets. If Ampyra has been accidentally crushed or broken dispose of the tablet and do not take it, as this may increase the risk for seizure. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action.
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