A recent investigation by CNN has unveiled a number of questions surrounding the use of Nuedexta in nursing homes. Nuedexta is a drug approved by the FDA to treat PBA (pseudobulbar affect), a condition which causes sufferers to experience uncontrolled laughing or crying. Nuedexta use has increased 400% in the past four years in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even though only about 1% of the overall population is affected by PBA, according to researchers.
At one facility CNN investigated, about a quarter of residents were given Nuedexta. In that and other nursing homes, CNN investigators found that staff had been speaking to doctors and psychiatrists who were funded by Nuedexta’s manufacturer. In some cases, the psychiatrists and doctors issuing the medication were linked with Nuedexta’s manufacturer. Investigators suggested that the drug could be used to help control patients who were a challenge due to dementia and other disorders, but pointed out that there is no research suggesting how Nuedexta might impact the elderly or how it might work with patients who have dementia but not PBA. The drug has not been approved for those uses.