Dalfampridine

This extended-release tablet is a potassium channel blocker that has proven to be an effective antidote for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis by helping them to improve their mobility and ability to walk.

Overview:

Patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis often experience a decrease in their mobility due to the difficulty that they experience with walking. In such situations, many people have found relief from this symptom with the use of dalfampridine. This drug helps to improve their ability to walk and thus return some amount of mobility to them.

There are some serious side effects associated with the use of dalfampridine. Seizures are sometimes experienced by patients taking this drug, and any type of seizure or convulsion that occurs warrants immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis can also occur and emergency help is required if the patient experiences such symptoms as difficulty breathing, wheezing, or fainting. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, and even fatal, and should be addressed immediately.

Overdose can also occur when taking dalfampridine, and it is very important that the dosage information provided by your doctor is followed. If you miss a dose and are unsure what to do, contact your prescribing physician or pharmacist for direction. It is important that you do not take more than 20mg of dalfampridine in a 24-hour period.

Notify your doctor of all medical conditions that you are being treated for and also inform them of all medications, both prescription and non-prescription, that you are taking.

Condition(s) Treated:

  • Immobility and difficulty walking (in patients with multiple sclerosis)

Type of Medicine:

  • Potassium channel blocker

Side Effects/Symptoms of Overdose:

While using dalfampridine can be effective in helping patients to walk better and become more mobile, it is also a medication that can cause a fatal overdose. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, it is advised that you seek immediate medical treatment at your closest emergency room.

Signs of Dalfampridine Overdose:

  • confusion
  • seizures
  • increased sweating
  • reduced awareness
  • problems with memory
  • memory loss
  • weakness
  • epileptic seizure that will not stop

Patients that suffer from multiple sclerosis and use dalfampridine for the benefit of improved mobility may experience side effects that can be a symptom of a more serious problem. If you experience one or more of the symptoms listed below, it is advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Most Likely:

  • bladder pain
  • numbness or the feeling stiffness or burning in any of the extremities or the face
  • painful or difficult urination
  • forgetfulness
  • pain on the side or lower back
  • difficulty walking
  • blurred vision
  • slurred speech or problems with swallowing
  • difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels
  • burning, numbness, itchy, prickly, or feeling tingles generalized in the body
  • feeling sad or depressed

Less Common:

  • muscle cramps
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Unknown Likeliness:

  • cough
  • tightness in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • hives
  • fast heartbeat
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • skin rash
  • dizziness
  • itching

In addition to the troublesome side effects mentioned above, dalfampridine may also cause symptoms and side effects that will likely dissipate on their own. However, it is always best practice to notify your doctor if you experience one or more of the following symptoms that last longer than a few days or become worse over time. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if your side effects and symptoms warrant further medical attention.

Most Likely:

  • lack or loss of strength
  • stuffy or a runny nose

Less common

  • muscle aches
  • constipation
  • trouble sleeping
  • headache
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • back pain
  • nausea
  • headache

While the lists above include many side effects, there are others that may occur. If you experience any symptoms that are of concern to you, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if they require further medical attention.

Dosage:

Recommended dosages of dalfampridine can vary based on the size, weight, and age of the patients along with the severity of their multiple sclerosis. The doses listed below are just the typical amounts that may be prescribed, if your doctor has directed you to take your dalfampridine differently, then continue to follow their instructions.

Dalfampridine comes in extended-release tablets which makes it important to closely follow your prescription and the amount of time that you are directed to wait between doses.

Patients that are taking dalfampridine to improve their walking ability and mobility are typically adults. If your child is prescribed this medication, be sure to follow the instructions of their doctor or pediatrician as they will likely differ from those given to adults.

Adults are typically prescribed 10mg taken two times per day, with the tablets administered with at least 12 hours between each dosage. It is important that you do not take more than the recommended amount, and do not take more than 20mg in one day or 24-hour period of time.

Major Drug Interactions:

There are no major drug interactions that are currently reported with the use of dalfampridine. However, it is always essential to discuss your current conditions and treatments with your doctor prior to starting your dalfampridine course of treatment. This conversation should include all prescription drugs that you are currently taking as well as any non-prescription and over the counter medications. They also need to be informed of any herbal remedies or vitamin and mineral supplements. It is also imperative to inform your doctor of any changes that occur in your medical treatment or lifestyle while you are taking dalfampridine.

In addition to drug interactions, certain medical conditions can also have a negative effect on how your body reacts to dalfampridine. Notify your doctor, prior to beginning this medication, if you suffer from one or more of the following conditions as its use may make them worse.

  • history of seizures
  • kidney disease

Warnings:

During your course of treatment of dalfampridine, your prescribing physician will want to ensure that the medication is working properly, is effective, and no unwanted side effects are occurring.

Because of the possibility of seizures occurring in patients that are taking dalfampridine, it is very important that you notify your physician immediately if do experience any convulsions or seizures when taking this drug. Stop taking dalfampridine immediately and notify your prescribing doctor of your reaction as soon as possible.

The likelihood of more serious symptoms and side effects has been reported to increase in patients that are taking aminopyridine medications at the same time as dalfampridine. Do not take these two medications concurrently, and be sure to notify your doctor if you are taking an aminopyridine prior to beginning your dalfampridine course of treatment.

Dalfampridine has been reported to cause serious reactions such as anaphylaxis which is some cases can be life-threatening or even fatal. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it is essential that you seek emergency medical treatment right away:

  • wheezing
  • very fast or irregular breathing
  • gasping for breath
  • swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat that resembles large hives
  • changes to the color of your face (skin)
  • fainting

Patients must also be aware of the chance of urinary tract infections while taking this medication and should notify their physician right away should they experience this ailment. Common signs of urinary tract infections include:

  • pain on the side or lower back
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • bladder pain
  • painful, burning, or difficult urination
  • bloody or cloudy urine

Storage:

It is important to store dalfampridine in a dry and cool place without exposure to direct light. Avoid excessive heat or cold, moisture, and do not let this medicine freeze.

Keep this and all medications, whether prescription or over the counter, out of the reach of children.

If, at the conclusion of your treatment, you are left with excess or expired medication, consult with your prescribing physician or pharmacist on the proper and most appropriate way to safely discard the medication.

Summary:

Dalfampridine is an effective medication that is used in treating multiple sclerosis patients that have reduced walking ability. This drug needs to be taken with close guidance from the prescribing physician as it can cause serious side effects such as anaphylaxis, a serious condition that can be life-threatening.

Patients that have decreased mobility due to their multiple sclerosis may find relief and have some of their ability to walk restored. This drug does have the potential to cause overdose; it is important that the prescription is followed exactly, and that the patient does not take more than the dosage advised by their doctor. Do not take a double dose of dalfampridine, and if you miss a dose take it immediately upon realizing that you have neglected to take the medication. However, if you realize that you have skipped a dose and it is close to the time of your next pill, it is advised that you contact the prescribing physician or your pharmacist for further instruction.

There have not been any studies performed that prove that the use of dalfampridine is more harmful when used by older patients or women who are pregnant or nursing. Be sure that you discuss all of your medical conditions with your doctor prior to beginning dalfampridine. Also alert them to any changes in your medical conditions, treatments, and overall health.

Do not take dalfampridine if you are currently taking another aminopyridine medication, as the use of both medicines can increase the likelihood of experiencing severe side effects. Your doctor may want to monitor how your body reacts to dalfampridine and its effectiveness through blood tests and other diagnostic tools. Keep your doctor informed of any changes to your overall medical health, conditions for which you are receiving treatment, and any changes to your medications or their frequency or dosage.