ALISO VIEJO, Calif., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and United BioSource Corporation (UBC) today announced a pilot study to screen for pseudobulbar affect (PBA) symptoms in approximately 1,000 veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) . According to The Bob Woodruff Foundation, it is estimated that more than 320,000 service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
PBA occurs when a TBI or other neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Parkinson's disease, stroke or Alzheimer's disease, damages the areas of the brain that controls normal emotional expression, causing uncontrollable episodes of crying or laughing. These outbursts are often contrary or exaggerated to the patient's inner emotional state, causing them to laugh or cry when they may not find the situation to be particularly funny or sad. As a result, many of those afflicted with PBA have significant impairment on measures of general health status, occupational and social function. People with PBA tend to have higher incidence of depressive symptoms and often avoid social activities they would normally enjoy.
"This is the first study prospectively assessing PBA symptoms in veterans with TBI," said Randall Kaye, MD, chief medical officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals. "This research will provide key insights including the estimated prevalence of PBA symptoms in this population."
Avanir, UBC, the medical community and the VA will gain a deeper understanding of the prevalence of PBA symptoms in veterans suffering from TBI, as well as the prevalence of comorbid mood or behavioral disorders. Ultimately, the intent is to use the information gathered to develop a screening protocol for identifying and treating PBA symptoms to improve the quality of care for our nation's veterans.
About the Study
A screening questionnaire is being sent to 1,000 patients within the VA system in the Boston area who were identified as having a TBI. Analysis of the patients' charts will be performed for those with a screening score that is indicative of the presence of PBA symptoms. Data to be captured includes demographics as well as other mood or behavioral diagnoses.
About Traumatic Brain Injury in the Military
TBI is widely regarded as the "signature wound" of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, accounting for 22 percent of all injuries and 59 percent of blast-related injuries. Based on existing data, veterans' advocates believe that between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq veterans, or 150,000 to 300,000 people, have some level of TBI. Among wounded troops, the rate of TBI rises to 33 percent. In the past decade, more than 230,000 American soldiers were diagnosed with TBI.
About Pseudobulbar Affect
People with pseudobulbar affect (PBA) have sudden outbursts of involuntary crying or laughing, even though there may not be anything particularly sad or funny to trigger those emotions. Many people who suffer from PBA describe their episodes as uncontrollable, exaggerated, or different from their true feelings. PBA may occur when certain neurologic diseases or injury damage the areas of the brain that control normal expression of emotion. This damage can disrupt brain signaling, causing a "short circuit" and triggering episodes of involuntary crying or laughing. PBA can occur in people diagnosed with a variety of otherwise unrelated neurologic conditions such as Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer's disease. For more information about PBA, please visit www.PBAinfo.org.
About Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing innovative medicines to patients with central nervous system disorders of high unmet medical need. As part of our commitment, we have extensively invested in our pipeline and are dedicated to advancing medicines that can substantially improve the lives of patients and their loved ones. For more information about Avanir, please visit www.avanir.com.
AVANIR® is a trademark or registered trademark of Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
©2013 Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Forward Looking Statements
Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements regarding Avanir's plans, potential opportunities, financial or other expectations, projections, goals objectives, milestones, strategies, market growth, timelines, legal matters, product pipeline, clinical studies, product development and the potential benefits of its commercialized products and products under development are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the risks and uncertainties associated with Avanir's operating performance and financial position, the market demand for and acceptance of Avanir's products domestically and internationally, research, development and commercialization of new products domestically and internationally, including the risks and uncertainties associated with meeting the objectives of the study of pseudobulbar affect in patients with a traumatic brain injury, including, but not limited to, continued funding, delays or failures in enrollment, obtaining additional indications for commercially marketed products domestically and internationally, obtaining and maintaining regulatory approvals domestically and internationally, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents subsequently filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are based on current information that may change and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the issuance of this press release.
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SOURCE Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.