Real Story: Ross

A devoted husband who supports his wife

Caring for a loved one who lives with a neurologic condition or brain injury can be challenging. Watching them also struggle with sudden, frequent, unpredictable, and exaggerated crying or laughing episodes can be difficult. But there’s hope.

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Karen had already been living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for years before she and Ross met and got married. Even for a practicing physician like Ross, her crying and laughing episodes remained mysterious. But together, they kept searching until they found an answer.
Ross, caregiver for Karen, Multiple Sclerosis patient with PBA taking NUEDEXTA

Ross, caregiver for Karen, Multiple Sclerosis patient with PBA taking NUEDEXTA.

Ross shows his wife Karen a photo on his camera as she kisses his head
Ross shows his wife Karen a photo on his camera as she kisses his head

I used to constantly try to be careful so that I didn’t say something wrong or provoke a crying or laughing episode that could be difficult to manage.

Ross

Life with undiagnosed PBA was stressful

Karen’s doctors saw her uncontrollable crying episodes as a symptom of depression resulting from the burden of MS. As a doctor, Ross understood their thinking. “Karen was living with unpredictable crying and laughing episodes,” says Ross. “That can look like depression.”

Despite their general happiness, some days were frustrating. “Karen was going through these unpredictable episodes of uncontrollable crying or laughing so frequently, and that just makes anyone irritable. It’s a constant grind,” says Ross. He remained positive despite the tension her unpredictable episodes caused in their relationship. “I used to tell Karen, ‘This isn’t you. This is not a normal response from you.’”

It’s important to understand that a person with PBA is not trying to be difficult, they’re not trying to be solitary, they’re not trying to be anti-social, they’re not trying to be cranky – they’re just coping with their PBA symptoms.

Ross

Ross holds his wife Karen's hand while they sit together

Ross and Karen stayed hopeful while searching for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Seeing results with NUEDEXTA

When Ross and Karen discovered a condition called PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect) through an MS forum, they were thrilled to find a 2009 clinical trial specifically for PBA—studying the treatment now called NUEDEXTA.

Through that study, Karen was officially diagnosed with PBA. She’s been taking NUEDEXTA to reduce her PBA episodes since it became available for prescription in 2010, under the supervision of her doctor. Consistency is important, Ross tells us. “I want other caregivers to make sure that their loved ones take the medicine regularly because that does help a lot.” 

Guidance from a caregiver

If you care for someone with a neurologic condition or Traumatic Brain Injury and you think they might have PBA, Ross has some advice: go ahead and help that person seek diagnosis and treatment. “As a caregiver, you have to encourage them to get the help they need from doctors and get the medicine they need to take,” he says. “I want to tell people to share their crying and laughing symptoms with a doctor and ask if it could be PBA. You have to have a diagnosis to get on treatment.”

Learn how to start the conversation with your doctor about PBA and NUEDEXTA.

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Ross and his wife Karen smile while consulting a map
Ross and his wife Karen smile while consulting a map

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