Pseudobulbar Affect: When You Can't Stop Laughing, or Crying

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Avanir has other plans for Nuedexta, he said. "We think that PBA is just the first approval for Nuedexta." Clinical trials found that the drug reduced the pain of nerve damage from diabetes, called peripheral neuropathy. Katkin said it may prove useful in involuntary movements called dyskinesias, and could help with cognition in dementia. It also has potential in regulating other emotional disturbances, such as anger, irritability and frustration associated with many disorders, he said.

New Treatment Option May Lead to Greater Awareness

Katkin said he believes many physicians who recognized PBA may not have bothered to make a separate PBA diagnosis because they didn't have any targeted therapy to offer their patients. "It's our hope and expectation that with the first approved therapy, now doctors will be more comfortable making that diagnosis because they can offer a treatment option," he said.

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PHOTO: Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison attend the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Inaugural Gala presented by Salvatore Ferragamo at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 17, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Stefanie Keenan/Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts/Getty Images for Wallis Annenber