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What Is Dalfampridine?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dalfampridine is a type of medication called a potassium channel blocker. It improves walking in patients who have a medical condition known as multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis itself is a disease where nerves are unable to properly function. This disease can cause symptoms such as muscle coordination loss, numbness and weakness. Dalfampridine, which comes in extended-release tablet form, works by strengthening the body’s nerve functions, enabling patients to recover some walking ability.

As with all medications, there is the possibility of suffering side effects when taking dalfampridine. Some side effects are mild and do not require patients to seek medical attention unless the side effects become persistent or severe. A few of the more common, milder side effects include difficulty sleeping, dizziness and headache. Less common, but still mild, side effects include back pain, constipation and fever.

Unlike mild side effects in which patients do not need to consult with a doctor right away, serious side effects require immediate medical attention. Some of the more common, serious side effects include abnormal urination, bladder pain, and lower back pain. In addition, less common, serious side effects include blurred vision, difficulty walking, and muscle cramps. It is especially important to seek immediate medical attention when an overdose occurs. Signs of a dalfampridine overdose include confusion, memory loss and seizures.

Dalfampridine is available through prescription and, as such, patients should follow prescription instructions given by their doctor. Dosage varies from person to person and depends on the strength of the tablets. In general, adults take one tablet twice a day, with at least a time period of 12 hours between each dose, while children rely on the dosage provided by their doctor. Patients should not take two doses at any one time or take a dose to make up for missing one. In addition, in a 24-hour period, patients should not take more than two tablets.

Patients can take dalfampridine with food or without food, but they need to swallow the medication whole, not broken, chewed or crushed. Also, patients must not dissolve the tablet prior to swallowing. It can take longer than six weeks for patients to feel the positive effects of the medication. In addition, walking might become easier while patients are taking the dalfampridine but can go away when they cease to continue using the medication. Lastly, as multiple sclerosis causes a variety of symptoms, patients might take dalfampridine alone, or in combination with other medications.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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