This systematic review summarizes the existing evidence on the effect of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) as a symptomatic treatment of decreased walking capacity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) when administered as an immediate release compound and a slow release compound. It summarizes existing evidence on the basic mechanisms of 4-AP from experimental studies and evidence on the clinical use of the compound. A systematic literature search was conducted of the following databases: PubMed and EMBASE. Thirty-five studies were included in the review divided into 16 experimental studies, two clinical studies with paraclinical endpoints and 17 clinical studies with clinical endpoints. Animal studies show that 4-AP can improve impulse conduction through demyelinated lesions. In patients with MS this translates into improved walking speed and muscle strength of the lower extremities in a subset of patients at a level that is often of clinical relevance. Phase III trials demonstrate approximately 25% increase in walking speed in roughly 40% and improved muscle strength in the lower extremities. Furthermore, 4-AP might have an effect on other domains such as cognition, upper extremity function and bowel and bladder, but this warrants further investigation. Side effects are mainly mild to moderate, consisting primarily of paraesthesia, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, falls/balance disorders, insomnia, urinary tract infections and asthenia. Side effects are worse when administered intravenously and when administered as an immediate release compound. Serious adverse events are rarely seen in the marketed clinical dosages. In conclusion, 4-AP is easy and safe to use. Slow release 4-AP shows more robust clinical effects and a more beneficial side-effect profile than immediate release 4-AP.