Effects of Fampridine in People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Prolonged-release (PR) fampridine is a potassium channel blocker used as a symptomatic treatment for walking disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Its clinical effects in such patients have not been systematically reviewed, and may be more wide-ranging than expected.
To summarize the evidence on the effects of PR fampridine in patients with MS.
A systematic search of Pubmed, Scopus (including EMBASE), and PsycINFO (completed in 01/2019) was carried out to identify randomized controlled trials (RCT) that compared PR fampridine to placebo. When appropriate, data were pooled using a random-effects model, and standardized mean differences (SMD) were computed. Study quality was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. PRISMA guidelines were followed. All retrieved functional outcomes were categorized according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).
A total of 706 articles were screened for inclusion. Twenty RCTs involving 2616 patients met the eligibility criteria. Most studies were of good-to-excellent quality. PR fampridine administration resulted in significant benefits in relation to walking short distances (SMD: 1.23 (95% IC 0.65–1.81)) and perceived walking capacity (0.64 (0.27–1.02)). Its effects on muscle strength and middle-distance walking were not significant (0.53 (− 0.04 to 1.10) and 0.31 (− 0.18 to 0.80), respectively). No effect on higher-level cognitive functions (− 0.07 (− 0.58 to 0.45)) or hand and arm use (0.16 (− 0.33 to 0.64)) was observed. Individual studies reported effects on other outcomes across the ICF domains.
There is strong evidence that PR fampridine exerts strong effects on the ability to walk short distances and on perceived walking capacity. Other effects of PR fampridine according to the ICF are possible but still unclear.
MV initiated and designed the study, registered the protocol, performed the data collection and analysis, interpreted the results, designed the figures, and wrote the manuscript; MQ performed the data collection and analysis, interpreted the results, drafted the manuscript, and revised the final version; TL, GS, VVP, and SES initiated and designed the study, participated in the interpretation of the results, and critically revised the manuscript; CD designed and helped with the statistical analyses, interpreted the results, and critically revised the manuscript; TW initiated and designed the study, performed the data collection and analysis, interpreted the results, designed the figures, and critically revised the manuscript. All the authors approved the final version to be published.
Maxime Valet was partly funded by the Fondation pour l’aide à la recherche sur la sclérose en plaques (ARSEP), the Fondation Saint-Luc, Bourse de mobilité Sofmer-Allergan, and the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS while designing, conducting, and reporting the present work. These funders did not interfere with the present work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
Thierry Lejeune, Gaëtan Stoquart, Vincent Van Pesch, and Souraya El Sankari have received a research grant from Biogen. We certify that Biogen did not interfere with the present study. Maxime Valet, Mélanie Quoilin, Christine Detrembleur, and Thibault Warlop have no conflict of interest to disclose.
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