PubMed 21734179

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Title: A randomized trial of 4-aminopyridine in EA2 and related familial episodic ataxias.

Authors: M Strupp, R Kalla, J Claassen, C Adrion, U Mansmann, T Klopstock, T Freilinger, H Neugebauer, R Spiegel, M Dichgans, F Lehmann-Horn, K Jurkat-Rott, T Brandt, J C Jen, K Jahn

Journal, date & volume: Neurology, 2011 Jul 19 , 77, 269-75

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The therapeutic effects of 4-aminopyridine (4AP) were investigated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial in 10 subjects with familial episodic ataxia with nystagmus.After randomization, placebo or 4AP (5 mg 3 times daily) was administered for 2 3-month-long treatment periods separated by a 1-month-long washout period. The primary outcome measure was the number of ataxia attacks per month; the secondary outcome measures were the attack duration and patient-reported quality of life (Vestibular Disorders Activities of Daily Living Scale [VDADL]). Nonparametric tests and a random-effects model were used for statistical analysis.The diagnosis of episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2) was genetically confirmed in 7 subjects. Patients receiving placebo had a median monthly attack frequency of 6.50, whereas patients taking 4AP had a frequency of 1.65 (p = 0.03). Median monthly attack duration decreased from 13.65 hours with placebo to 4.45 hours with 4AP (p = 0.08). The VDADL score decreased from 6.00 to 1.50 (p = 0.02). 4AP was well-tolerated.This controlled trial on EA2 and familial episodic ataxia with nystagmus demonstrated that 4AP decreases attack frequency and improves quality of life.This crossover study provides Class II evidence that 4AP decreases attack frequency and improves the patient-reported quality of life in patients with episodic ataxia and related familial ataxias.