Drug might help MS patients walk

February 27, 2009 1:34:02 PM PST
A new drug may help some multiple sclerosis patients walk. If approved it would be the first drug to treat a specific symptom of the disease. The drug is called fampridine and researchers say it's the first thing that's ever been able to improve walking ability in MS patients to some degree.

Existing drugs for multiple sclerosis are thought to work through the immune system to reduce relapses and other problems. Fampridine by contrast improves the ability of the nerve fibers to transmit signals.

In a study of about 300 patients, 35 percent who took the drug walked a little faster over the 14 week trial period.

The drug is made by Acorda Therapeutics. Details of this research can be found in The Lancet medical journal.