A recent report by CNN revealed the lengths to which one California drug maker may be going to push sales of Nuedexta, a little red pill developed to treat certain behavioral problems but has been increasingly used in nursing homes to control residents. The story by CNN was so compelling that the City Attorney for Los Angeles even opened an investigation into the drug maker’s targeting of nursing home residents.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Nuedexta to treat a disorder marked by sudden and uncontrollable laughing or crying, known as pseudobulbar affect (PBA). According to maker Avanir Pharmaceuticals’ own data, less than 1 percent of American’s suffer from the condition and is most commonly associated with patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Unfortunately, Avanir appears to paying doctors to push the medication onto nursing home workers as a way to control the behavior of unruly residents, something the drug is not approved for nor studied enough to warrant such applications. CNN reports suggest some doctors even took in tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for speaking engagements and other talks on the benefits of using the drug for “off label” applications.