Involuntary Crying and Laughing | PBA FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is PBA?
A: Pseudobulbar affect - PBA, is a neurologic condition that causes sudden, involuntary episodes of crying or laughing in patients with certain neurologic conditions throughout the day. During a PBA episode, the emotions a person expresses may be exaggerated or different from how they feel inside.
Q: What causes PBA?
A: PBA may occur when certain neurologic diseases or injuries damage the areas of the brain that controls normal expression of emotion. This damage can disrupt brain signaling, causing a 'short circuit' which results in episodes of involuntary crying or laughing.
Q: What is the impact of PBA on people who have it?
A: PBA can have a negative impact on people's lives. Patients describe episodes as disruptive, embarrassing and distressing.
Q: Is PBA a form of depression?
A: PBA episodes may look like symptoms of depression, and, as a result, PBA is often misunderstood. Unlike depression, however, PBA is a neurologic condition. The emotional expressions may be different from or exaggerations of the person’s actual feeling.
Q: What neurologic conditions are associated with PBA?
A: PBA can occur in people with an underlying neurologic condition— such as Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). Other neurologic conditions may also be associated with PBA. Talk to your doctor is you think that you may have PBA symptoms.
Q: What is NUEDEXTA?
A: NUEDEXTA is the first and only medication FDA-approved to treat PBA. NUEDEXTA is a combination of two well known medicines, dextromethorphan and quinidine, that have been used separately to treat other conditions. Only when used in combination have these medications been shown to be effective in treating PBA episodes. NUEDEXTA is not approved to treat emotional symptoms other than uncontrollable crying and/or laughing due to PBA.
Q: How does NUEDEXTA work?
A: NUEDEXTA is thought to act on areas of the brain responsible for emotional responses. With NUEDEXTA, episodes of unwanted crying or laughing can be reduced or eliminated altogether for some patients.