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Potential new drug for spinal cord injury.

The standard of care for acute spinal-cord-injured patients includes high-dose steroids, but there is no effective therapy for long-term spinal cord injury. It is therefore refreshing and exciting to know that potential drugs are being tested.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the efficacy and safety of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP). Twenty-seven patients with long-term spinal cord injury were randomized to receive either oral 4-AP or placebo for 12 weeks. Participants then switched to the opposite treatment group for the next 12 weeks. Significant functional improvement was noted in those treated with 4-AP initially ([chi square], p = 0.042). Sensor(motor changes were documented after discontinuation of the drug.

While further studies are needed before this drug can go to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, the current study concluded that 4-AP is safe. Patients receiving 4-AP do need to be carefully monitored for the occurrence of peripheral vasospasm.

Grijalva, I., Guizar-Sahagun, G., Castaneda-Hernandez. G., Mino, G., Maldonado-Julian, H., Vidal-Cantu, G., et al. (2003). Efficacy and safety of 4-aminopyridine in patients with long-term spinal cord injury: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Pharmacotherapy, 23(7), 823-834.
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Title Annotation:Horizons
Author:Hinkle, Janice L.
Publication:Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Previous Article:Stroke and sleep-disordered breathing.
Next Article:Coming out on top.

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