Aminopyridines for symptomatic treatment in multiple sclerosis.

A. Solari, B. Uitdehaag, G. Giuliani, E. Pucci, C. Taus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Because of their ability to increase nerve conduction in demyelinated nerve fibers, potassium channel blockers 4-aminopyridine (AP) and 3,4-diaminopyridine (DAP) have been proposed as a symptomatic therapy for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVES: To determine the efficacy and safety of aminopyridines in improving neurological deficits in people with MS. SEARCH STRATEGY: Computerised general (MEDLINE, EMBASE) and specialised databases (Cochrane MS Group's trials register, CCTR). Hand search of bibliographic references from retrieved studies and recent MS symposia reports. Contact with principal investigators of known studies. SELECTION CRITERIA: Trials were included if they fulfilled all following criteria: randomised controlled trials (RCTs); adults with MS, out of exacerbation; AP or DAP treatment versus placebo; clinical endpoints. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We identified 26 potentially pertinent studies. Three reviewers independently extracted data and assessed trial quality from the 16 studies available as full papers. MAIN RESULTS: Five studies (six publications) and 144 participants were considered in this review. Two more abstracts are awaiting assessment. All five studies were single-centre, double-blind, crossover trials. Four studies assessed the efficacy of AP versus placebo, one compared DAP with active placebo. The duration of treatment ranged from hours to three months. The median quality score of the studies was 3 (range 2-5). The heterogeneity of outcome assessment and the absence of information on individual study periods, allowed quantitative pooling of results for few categorical variables. Of the 144 treated patients, there were six major side effects: one acute encephalopathy, three episodes of confusion, and two seizures. Manual muscle testing was assessed in three studies (54 patients), with 29 patients (54%) improving in at least one muscular district during study treatment versus four patients (7%) during placebo (odds ratio [OR] 14.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.7-43.7). Ambulation was assessed in three studies (54 patients): 9 patients (17%) improved during study treatment versus none during placebo (p

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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