narrative medicine

Pseudobulbar affect

I read in the paper today that the FDA has approved a new drug, Avanir, for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect, the emotional lability accompanying disorders like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gerhig’s, traumatic brain injury.

The difficult and unusual name of the condition is also a barrier to marketing the drug, especially since the “pseudo’’ makes it sound like a fake ailment. The company at one point tried to coin its own name – involuntary emotional expression disorder — but the drug administration nixed that.

Prescriptions Blog, NY Times

“Involuntary emotional expression disorder” — are you serious?

Dear drug companies,

Stop making up names for well-known diseases.  In fact, stop marketing directly to consumers — that will solve your problem easy! Because any physician who doesn’t know that pseudobulbar affect accompanies pseudobulbar palsy should not be treating MS, ALS, or TBI.

No love,

The Scrivener

P.S. The price will be between $3,000 and $5,000 a year? Seriously?


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