A new Patient Assistance Program can help people with a diagnosis of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) get a medication designed to treat the condition at low or no cost.
PBA is a neurologic condition that sometimes occurs in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), causing unwanted episodes of crying or laughing that aren't correlated with actual mood. Although not harmful, these episodes can be upsetting and embarrassing, and people sometimes avoid social situations because of them.
Under the program, eligible individuals with ALS can receive a six-month supply of the drug Nuedexta free of charge, and may qualify for ongoing assistance with periodic verification of eligibility.
Nuedexta developer Avanir Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., revealed details of the program June 5, 2012, in a press release. Nuedexta is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat PBA.
Financial assistance available
The Patient Assistance Program is part of Avanir’s Nuedexta Patient Services for patients and health care providers. People seeking financial and treatment support can use this service to access health insurance plan assistance, including drug benefit verification; financial and co-pay assistance; and educational information about pseudobulbar affect and Nuedexta.
Financial assistance includes:
Nuedexta reduces unwanted laughing and crying
Nuedexta is a combination of two drugs: dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate. Dextromethorphan acts in the central nervous system to reduce the frequency of unwanted episodes of laughing or crying, although the precise mechanism by which it works is unknown. Quinidine increases blood levels of dextromethorphan by interfering with its breakdown in the body. (Nuedexta does not treat the underlying causes of ALS.)
Avanir reported in 2010 that a phase 3 trial of Nuedexta (former versions of which were known as Neurodex, Zenvia and AVP923) included approximately 300 participants with PBA secondary to either ALS or multiple sclerosis. The investigators found the drug reduced the number of episodes of unwanted laughing or crying compared to a placebo, and that it was generally safe and well-tolerated.
Learn more about the program
People with ALS who experience pseudobulbar affect and who have questions about Nuedexta or the assistance program, can contact Nuedexta Patient Services at (855) 468-3339, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time. Information also is available on Neudexta's website.
People considering taking Nuedexta should discuss any current health problems and medications, as well as the possible benefits and risks of this drug, with a physician.