We investigated the effects of dalfampridine, the sustained-release form of 4-aminopyridine, on slow phase velocity (SPV) and visual acuity (VA) in patients with downbeat nystagmus (DBN) and the side effects of the drug. In this proof-of-principle observational study, ten patients received dalfampridine 10 mg bid for 2 weeks. Recordings were conducted at baseline, 180 min after first administration, after 2 weeks of treatment and after 4 weeks of wash-out. Mean SPV decreased from a baseline of 2.12 deg/s ± 1.72 (mean ± SD) to 0.51 deg/s ± 1.00 180 min after first administration of dalfampridine 10 mg and to 0.89 deg/s ± 0.75 after 2 weeks of treatment with dalfampridine (p < 0.05; post hoc both: p < 0.05). After a wash-out period of 1 week, mean SPV increased to 2.30 deg/s ± 1.6 (p < 0.05; post hoc both: p < 0.05). The VA significantly improved during treatment with dalfampridine. Also, 50 % of patients did not report any side effects. The most common reported side effects were abdominal discomfort and dizziness. Dalfampridine is an effective treatment for DBN in terms of SPV. It was well-tolerated in all patients.
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This work was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Grant No. 01EO0901 to the German Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders (IFBLMU). We thank Ms. Katie Ogston for copy-editing the manuscript.
Conflicts of interest
Dr. Jahn reports ongoing research support from Biogenldec GmbH (lTT on 4-aminopyridine, Fampyra™). Dr. Schneider reports ongoing research support from Autronic Medizintechnik GmbH.
Study has been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.
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