What Is the Treatment for Pseudobulbar Affect?


Quick Answer

Pseudobulbar affect, or PBA is treated with the drug dextromethorphan HBr and quinidine sulfate, which is available by prescription under the brand name Neudexta in the United States. Several studies on dextromethorphan/quinine show that the drug can be used to manage and control PBA episodes. A 2014 study published in Neurology observed that test subjects who were given the treatment over a 12-week course experienced more than a 50 percent remission in PBA episodes.

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Full Answer

Also known as emotional lability and emotional incontinence, PBA is a form of neurological condition that is characterized by the patient's inability to control sudden emotional outbursts. Such outbursts come in the form of uncontrollable laughing and crying, or other forms of emotional expressions.

The bouts of crying or laughing in PBA patients can appear with or without stimulus, or may have a stimulus but induces an inappropriate response from the patient. For example, the patient may laugh uncontrollably at a depressing situation. PBA episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Individuals suffering from PBA often become withdrawn as their condition negatively affects their ability to function socially.

Treatment with dextromethorphan and quinidine have proven to be effective in significantly decreasing the occurrence of PBA episodes. This medication is administered orally in the form of capsules or tablets. The side effects of taking the drug include diarrhea, vomiting, gas, stomach pains, dryness in the mouth and eyes, coughing and weakness.

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