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Safety and efficacy of 4-aminopyridine in humans with spinal cord injury: a long-term, controlled trial.

Pharmacotherapy 1999 June
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of the long-term administration of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) on sensorimotor function in humans with long-standing spinal cord injury (SCI).

DESIGN: Randomized, open-label, active-treatment control, dosage-blinded study.

SETTING: University-affiliated, tertiary-level care, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

PATIENTS: Twenty-one healthy men and women outpatients suffering from traumatic SCI (14 tetraplegic, 7 paraplegic) for 2 years or more.

INTERVENTIONS: Dosages of an immediate-release formulation of 4-AP were titrated. At 3 months, 16 subjects were receiving 4-AP 30 mg/day (high dose); 5 subjects were receiving 4-AP 6 mg/day (low dose) and served as an active-treatment control group.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Composite motor and sensory scores had statistically significant increases at 3 months. Maximal expiratory pressure, maximal inspiratory pressure, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second showed clinically meaningful and/or statistically significant increases among patients receiving 4-AP 30 mg/day. These subjects also had significant decreases in spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale). Serial biochemical profiles and electroencephalographs were unchanged from baseline, and no clinically significant drug toxicity was encountered.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term oral administration of immediate-release 4-AP was associated with improvement in and recovery of sensory and motor function, enhanced pulmonary function, and diminished spasticity in patients with long-standing SCI. 4-Aminopyridine appears to be safe and relatively free from toxicity when administered orally over 3 months. Each patient who received immediate-release 4-AP 30 mg/day showed a response in one or more of the outcome measures.

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