New multiple-sclerosis drug approved by the FDA

Today the Food and Drug Administration approved Ampyra, a new drug owned by Biogen Idec. to fight multiple sclerosis.

The new drug is an extended-release tablet aimed at helping to increase mobility in those battling against multiple sclerosis. The FDA said those who took the drug had better movement and faster walking speeds than those who had taken a placebo.

For people with MS, impaired walking ability is one of the most common and concerning aspects of the disease, said Alfred Sandrock, senior vice president of neurology research and development at Biogen Idec, in a statement. Ampyra may be an important therapy in reducing the impact of this debilitating condition.

The drug is set to be marketed by Acorda Therapeutics Inc. who also is responsible for marketing Zanaflex.

Despite its usefulness to help mobility is those suffering from MS, the FDA did warn that Ampyra, when given at doses greater than recommended, can cause seizures. However, the FDA did not feel that a “black box” warning on the label of the drug was necessary, which is the most serious type of warning for potential side effects.

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