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 throughout the day. During a PBA episode, the emotions a person expresses may be exaggerated or different from the person’s inner emotional state.
Q: What causes PBA?
A: PBA may occur when certain neurologic diseases or injuries damage the area 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 episodes may cause embarrassment, particularly in public settings. Sometimes these crying or laughing episodes can be so disruptive for people that they can interfere with their everyday life or cause them to avoid social situations.
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 mood.
Q: With what diseases can PBA be associated?
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).
Q: What is NUEDEXTA?
A: NUEDEXTA is the first FDA approved medication to treat PBA. NUEDEXTA is a combination of two well known medicines, dextromethorphan and quinidine, that have been used separately to treat other conditions.
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.