How does this medication work? What will it do for me?Fampridine belongs to the class of medications called potassium channel blockers. Fampridine is used to improve walking in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) related walking difficulties. It is believed to work by improving the movement of messages through the nerves.
If there is no improvement in the symptoms of walking disability after 4 weeks, this medication should not be continued.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each film-coated, white-to-off-white, biconvex, oval shaped, non-scored, sustained release tablet with a flat edge and debossed with "A10" on one side, contains 10 mg fampridine. Non-medicinal ingredients: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose USP, microcrystalline cellulose USP, colloidal silicon dioxide NF, magnesium stearate USP, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose/hypromellose USP, titanium dioxide USP, and macrogol/PEG 400 NF.
How should I use this medication?The recommended dose of fampridine is 10 mg taken twice daily, one tablet in the morning and one tablet in the evening. The doses should be taken 12 hours apart.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Fampridine should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Do not crush, dissolve, divide, or chew the tablet, as this causes an increase in the amount of medication released at once and will increase the risk of seizures. Take fampridine without food.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Taking more than the recommended dose increases the risk of seizures.
If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, in the original container to protect it from light and moisture. Keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take fampridine if you:
- are allergic to fampridine or any ingredients of the medication
- are taking other forms of fampridine or 4-aminopyridine
- have reduced kidney function
- have or have had seizures
- are taking cimetidine or quinidine
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abnormal heart rhythms (such as fast or slow heart rate, palpitations), fainting or seizures
- blurred vision or other vision problems
- flu-like symptoms (sudden fever, lack of energy, cough, sore throat)
- problems with balance or feeling unsteady
- ringing in the ears
- sensation of spinning (vertigo)
- signs of infection (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
- signs of a urinary tract infection such as difficult or painful urination, abdominal pain
- tingling, burning, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- worsening of trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain in the face)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of the lips, throat, or tongue)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Dizziness/reduced alertness: This medication may cause dizziness, balance problems, or fatigue. Do not drive, operate machinery, or perform other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Heart problems: Heart problems involving symptoms of irregular heart rhythms may be made worse by taking fampridine. If you have heart problems or heart disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: Fampridine may reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Fampridine is removed from the body by the kidneys. Kidney disease or reduced kidney function can cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects and increasing the risk of seizure. People with reduced kidney function or kidney disease should not take fampridine.
If you are taking medications that can impact your kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Seizures: Fampridine has been associated with seizures, even in people who have never had a seizure before. Higher doses of fampridine increase the risk of seizures. The risk of seizures also increases if the kidneys are not working properly. If you have medical conditions that increase your risk of seizures or are taking medications that increase your risk of seizures (e.g., bupropion, tramadol, tapentadol), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with a history of seizures or epilepsy should not take fampridine.
Urinary tract infections: An increase in urinary tract infections has been noted by people taking fampridine. If you experience signs of a urinary tract infection, such as difficult or painful urination, bladder pain, or abdominal pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if fampridine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors are more likely to have reduced kidney function and may therefore be at higher risk of side effects of this medication. Your doctor may test your kidney function before starting treatment with fampridine.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between fampridine and any of the following:
- beta blockers (e.g., carvedilol, pindolol, propranolol)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.