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"Experimental drug helps MS patients walk better"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 27 Feb 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (4½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

An experimental drug seems to help some people with multiple sclerosis to walk better, which could improve their quality of life, researchers said.

In this week's issue of the medical journal the Lancet, neurologist Dr. Andrew Goodman of the University of Rochester Medical Center and his colleagues reported the results of their trial comparing Acorda Therapeutics' drug fampridine with a placebo...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 8 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This study of fampridine in the treatment of MS is relatively well done, with important caveats made as to the strength of the science and the preliminary nature of the study findings.

While the data suggest that, "for a sub-set of MS patients, nervous system function is partially restored while taking the drug," it is somewhat unsatisfactory to have that improvement measured in relative increases in walking speed. For example the report said that those "who took the drug walked about 25 per cent faster over a distance of 7.5 metres than before they took the medication, compared with an improvement of 5 per cent in the placebo group" While it is good to see what happens to patients before and after taking the drug, these results indicate relative benefits and thus are less meaningful than the preferred absolute benefit values.

Although very few stories quantify the potential harms of new treatments, this story mentioned and quantified the concerns regarding focal seizures (with sepsis) and anxiety. In addition, there was good mention of potential conflicts of interest for both the investigators and the commentators.

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