Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is said to be a condition typified by incidents of uncontrollable laughing and/or crying that may be unsuitable, unconnected to the situation at hand, or not expressing the person’s mood. This condition is claimed to be rather common in patients with underlying neurologic diseases or injuries, particularly those suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now a study claims that a new tentative treatment may aid in putting an end to those involuntary outbursts.

The study in patients detected with PBA seemingly examined the efficiency of a grouping of two medications, dextromethorphan and low dose quinidine. This merging of the drugs is called DMQ. After finishing the blinded, placebo controlled phase of the study, volunteers could participate in a following open label study where all of the subjects would be given the DMQ drug combination for a supplementary 12 weeks. Out of the 283 people finishing the first phase, roughly 253 opted to join this next open label study.

Study author Erik P. Pioro, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Director of the Section for ALS and Related Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, commented, “These outbursts of crying and laughter at inappropriate times can have a severe impact on patient and caregiver well-being, social functioning and quality of life.”

Volunteers received daily doses of DMQ and were frequently given a test that apparently gauges the incidence and acuteness of their PBA. The study discovered that the average test score was said to be considerably enhanced by 2.7 points from the start to the end of the open label study. Patients who received the placebo in the preceding clinical trial and then changed to DMQ appeared to exhibit the most development.

Pioro mentioned, “Our findings represent the first long-term results showing DMQ is effective in helping to control this debilitating condition afflicting patients with neurologic diseases or injuries. Currently, there are no FDA approved treatments for PBA, which is problematic because currently used off-label treatments are often ineffective or may have unacceptable side-effects.”

Pioro mentioned that these discoveries along with supplementary clinical data, can serve as the basis for a request for FDA approval of DMQ as the first treatment for pseudobulbar affect.

The study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto.