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October 18, 2004
Do you laugh or cry uncontrollably? Avanir's Emoticeutical Solution
At last week's BIO Emerging Company Investor Forum in San Francisco I found out that more than one million people across a wide variety of neurological disorders suffer from episodes of uncontrollable laughing and/or crying called the pseudobulbar affect (also known as emotional lability).
It is estimated that 50% of ALS patients, 10% of MS patients, 15% of Alzheimer's patients, and 11% of patients one year after having a stroke suffer from this emotional disorder.
Avanir Pharmaceuticals' CEO Gerald Yakatan shared the clinical trial progress they are making on their targeted emoticeutical, Neurodex, to treat this disorder.
Currently in phase III trials, Neurodex is an excellent example of how our increased understanding of the brain is making it possible to treat specific aspects of mental disorders that cut across different diseases. It also highlights a growing trend in treating mental illness with multiple drugs (see: polypharmacy). For example, an Alzheimer's patient in 2010 will likely be prescribed a "drug cocktail" that includes an emoticeutical like Neurodex, a cogniceutical from Saegis Pharmaceuticals and a sensoceutical to treat age-related sensory decline like hearing loss.
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