CNN is reporting that a drug company puts nursing home residents at risk by heavily promoting a drug called Nuedexta. Avanir Pharmaceuticals originally developed the drug to treat a condition called pseudobulbar affect, or PBA, a relatively obscure disorder. But recently, the company has aggressively marketed the drug to nursing homes as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“Nuedexta is being increasingly prescribed in nursing homes even though drugmaker Avanir Pharmaceuticals acknowledges in prescribing information” that they have not extensively studied its effects in elderly patients — “prompting critics to liken its use to an uncontrolled experiment,” CNN reported.
The CNN investigation revealed that Avanir waged an intensive campaign to promote the drug. Sales representatives allegedly paid doctors and pharmacists to make presentations about the drug. “Nearly half” of Nuedexta Medicare claims came from doctors who had received compensation from Avanir, according to the report.
Nursing Home Medication Injury from “Chemical Restraint”
The new marketing strategy resulted in windfall profits for Avanir, but critics say Nuedexta is a danger to the elderly. Indeed, the drug is a potential cause of nursing home medication injury. One Alzheimer’s study showed that people who took the drug were twice as likely to experience falls. Regulators suspected Nuedexta in the cause of more than 1,000 injuries reported to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System.
The FDA approved Nuedexta to treat a condition called PBA. But that is an affliction which rarely strikes Dementia patients. In fact, regulators say that doctors at long-term care facilities are using the drug to keep troublesome patients quiet, a practice called chemical restraint.
According to the American Association for Justice, nursing homes increasingly use chemical restraints to deal with difficult patients. “Research in Florida found that 71 percent of new nursing home residents were put on psychoactive medication within three months of admission, and 15 percent were put on four or more drugs,” the report said.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at Martinez Manglardi work hard to protect nursing home residents who are victims of abuse and neglect. Call us at 407-846-2240.