New MS drug Ampyra | Questionable effectiveness, high cost

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 By

Crutches

Ampyra proports to be able to help patients with MS improve their mobility. Image from Flickr.

The first and only oral drug intended to improve walking in multiple sclerosis patients, Ampyra, was approved by the FDA in January. Acorda Therapeutics, the maker of the drug, has presented numerous studies about the effectiveness of Ampyra. After several months in general release, Ampyra has seen slow but steady sales but faced questions about effectiveness and side effects.

What Ampyra is used for

Ampyra is a sustained-release Fampridine SR pill. Ampyra is intended to block some potassium in the body and restore nerve impulses. Though Ampyra has been studied for spinal cord injuries, it has been approved to help patients with Multiple Sclerosis walk more easily and more quickly. The annual cost of Ampyra is about $10,000 to $15,000 a year. At a cost that may require no faxing payday loans to pay for the drug, what are the risks and benefits of Ampyra?

The uses of Ampyra

Ampyra is a drug that has shown to help improve walking speed in MS patients. About 35 percent of patients taking Ampyra improve their walking speed. The original studies used by Acorda Theraputics to get the drug approved relied on twice-a-day doses. Ampyra as it is sold in the United States market is a once-a-day sustained release tablet. Ampyra is intended to be used as an “additional” treatment, in conjunction with other MS drugs.

The numerical effectiveness of Ampyra

While studies have shown that Ampyra is effective, the percentages in the study appear to be only barely statistically significant. The group of patients in the double-blind study taking the drug in Ampyra did improve their walking speed. Patients were able to walk 25 feet between half and .88 seconds more quickly. While this is a statistically significant improvement, it is only barely so. For MS patients that may be declining, though, that improvement could be very helpful.

The side effects of Ampyra

Ampyra is sold with significant side effect warnings. Almost 15 percent of patients experienced urinary tract infections, and insomnia and dizziness are also very common side effects. Patients taking Ampyra also reported relapses in symptoms almost twice as often as patients taking a placebo. Fampridine was originally developed as a bird poison, and it has also been shown to cause severe seizures if one takes twice the recommended dose.

Sales of Ampyra

In the first quarter that Ampyra was FDA-approved for sales in the United States, Acordia reported $3.4 million in sales. The drug was first shipped to pharmacies on March 1, 2010. About 2,000 prescriptions were written for Ampyra by April 29. The drug is expected to continue increasing sales. The real question, though, is whether the dangers, health care costs and side effects of Ampyra are worth the 35 percent chance of walking 25 feet one second faster.

Previous Article

« Obama at Solyndra touts clean technology, climate and energy bill

At Solyndra, Obama used the solar panel company as an example of clean technology to be promoted in the Senate climate and energy bill... a solar panel installation with a panel being lifted into place
Next Article

Oil spill stopped, says Coast Guard | Mission accomplished? »

U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has said that the "top kill" technique has worked; the oil spill has stopped, at least for now. READ MORE. An imagine of an oil-soaked bird. Oil spills are environmental disasters. Thankfully, the BP oil spill has been stopped, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Other recent posts by bryanh

No credit check loan

If you need to borrow money but have bad credit or no credit, apply right now for an instant no credit check loan today. CLICK HERE TO APPLY
Apply today for a no credit check loan.

Stave off financial emergencies with instant payday loans quickly

Financial emergencies can arrive without warning. However, there is a solution available in the form of Instant Payday Loans. CLICK TO APPLY
Apply online for instant payday loans today.

Get affordable payday installment loans today!

Payday installment loans are loans that are easy to get and easy to pay back. Apply today for a loan of up to $1,500. Start your application!
Woman on the computer applying for payday installment loans.