Avanir Pharmaceuticals Announces Presentation of Survey Evaluating the Prevalence of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA) Symptoms in Retired Professional Football Players at the 12th Annual North American Brain Injury Society Conference

-- Ninety nine percent of respondents experienced some form of brain trauma during their playing career and one third also report symptoms of PBA --

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the presentation of survey results assessing the prevalence and impact of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) symptoms in former professional football players.  The survey showed that nearly all players had experienced head trauma or injury during their football career, and that one-third experience symptoms suggestive of a little known but treatable consequence of head injury called PBA. The survey results were presented at the 12th Annual North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) Conference in San Antonio, TX on April 29 - May 2, 2015. An estimated two million Americans suffer from PBA, a distressing neurologic condition characterized by uncontrollable, sudden outbursts of crying and/or laughing in patients with underlying neurologic disease or brain injury.

Almost all (99 percent; n=513) of the 516 respondents reported experiencing head injuries, traumatic brain injury, concussions or head trauma during their football career.  Of these, 33 percent showed symptoms of PBA as measured by the Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale, a standard screening instrument to evaluate PBA.  Moreover the frequency and severity of PBA symptoms showed consistent and significant association with negative impact on everyday activities, social function and family relationships.  None of the respondents experiencing PBA symptoms reported receiving a diagnosis of PBA or a related medical term.

"There's been lot of attention recently on the consequences of sports-related brain injuries, yet PBA – a neurologic condition that can impact people with brain injury – is absent from the dialogue," said Hall of Fame former professional football player Barry Sanders. "There's low awareness of PBA and many people don't know they have it in the sports community and beyond."

"The prevalence and consequences of PBA symptoms secondary to sports-related head injuries has never been formally evaluated. The results of this study show there is a population of athletes likely suffering from PBA who are unaware of the condition or their treatment options," said Joao Siffert, MD, executive vice president, R&D and chief medical officer at Avanir.

"PBA is a distressing condition that many people find has a negative impact on their family, social activities and careers yet, due to low awareness, the condition is rarely diagnosed or treated," said Dr. Gregory O'Shanick, National Medical Director Emeritus of the Brain Injury Association of America. "This survey highlights the need for greater education, screening and detection of PBA so that people who have, or think they may have PBA know to speak with their doctor about their condition and treatment options."

Additional key highlights from the poster are:

  • 73 percent (n=378) reported a head injury, concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) which was defined as a skull fracture, being knocked unconscious, having a head injury requiring hospitalization, feeling wobbly or disoriented after taking a hit to the head or experiencing temporary memory loss after being hit. The remaining respondents (n=138) reported taking a hit to the head with varying degrees of symptoms.
  • Multiple head injuries were common: 60 percent (n=309) of former players reported having more than five head injuries; 16 percent (n=82) reported experiencing more than 20 head injuries over their football career.
  • 33 percent (n=168) met the criteria for PBA symptoms (CNS-LS >=13 or if CNS-LS<13, answering "yes" to a question about presence of sudden, uncontrollable, episodes of laughter or crying that were exaggerated or contrary to how they felt at the time).
  • Eight percent (n=41) had CNS-LS >=21 consistent with moderate to severe PBA symptoms.
  • 30 percent (n=51) of those with PBA symptoms reported experiencing these sudden, frequent and uncontrollable laughing or crying episodes at least weekly, with 10 percent (n=17) experiencing daily episodes.
  • PBA is often not reported and even when reported to a medical professional, may go unrecognized. Only 16 percent (n=27/168) of former players who had PBA symptoms had discussed them with a medical professional, and of these, only 14  received any diagnosis and none reported the diagnosis as PBA or related term.
  • The reasons provided for not consulting with a medical professional about episodes of laughing and/or crying included: not serious enough (43 percent; n=53), thought it was just depression (29 percent; n=36), too embarrassed to mention (25 percent; n=31), thought it was just part of the head injury (25 percent; n=31), and didn't think the doctor could offer any answers (24 percent; n=29).

About PBA

PBA is a neurologic condition characterized by uncontrollable, disruptive laughing and/or crying outbursts that are often contrary or exaggerated to the patient's inner mood state. As a result, many of those afflicted with PBA show significant impairment on standard measures of health status, and impairments in occupational and social function, often leading to social isolation. PBA occurs secondary to a variety of neurologic conditions such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. When these disorders damage areas of the brain that regulate normal emotional expression, they can lead to uncontrollable, disruptive episodes of crying or laughing. For more information about PBA, please visit www.pbafacts.com

The CNS-LS has been validated in ALS and MS patients.

About the Survey

The 2014 "Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund Survey" examined the types of head injuries that occur in football and the possible after effects of those injuries. For purposes of this survey, head injury, concussion or traumatic brain injury included skull fracture, being knocked unconscious, having a head injury requiring hospitalization, feeling wobbly or disoriented after taking a hit to the head and experiencing temporary memory loss after being hit.

All respondents were required to be at least 18 years old, have played professional football or be the family member or person who lives with or helps care for someone who has played professional football. Of the 7,000 members of Gridiron Greats emailed to take the survey, 516 people responded including 474 former professional football players and 42 family members or caregivers of former players. GfK, a leading market research organization, executed the study that fielded in November of 2014. Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., was not identified as the sponsor. The prevalence of PBA symptoms was determined using the Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS), a validated measure of PBA symptoms.

About Gridiron Greats

The Gridiron Greats mission is to assist dire need retired football players and their families. These men were pioneers of the game and have greatly contributed to making pro football the most popular sport in America. Gridiron Greats provides hands-on assistance to help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football. The services include medical assistance, transportation costs for medical evaluations and surgeries, dental assistance, housing assistance, financial assistance for utilities, medication, and coordination of services for food and other day-to-day necessities.

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 http://www.avanir.com.

Avanir is a subsidiary of Otsuka America, Inc. (OAI), a holding company established in the U.S. in 1989. OAI is wholly owned by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: 'Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide.'

Otsuka Pharmaceutical is a leading firm in the challenging area of mental health and also has products and research programs for several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate more powerfully than words how Otsuka is a "big venture" company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical and its affiliates employ approximately 30,000 people globally, and the company welcomes you to visit its global website at: http://www.otsuka.co.jp/en/index.php.

Avanir® is a registered trademarks owned by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

©2015 Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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+1 (949) 389-6700

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Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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SOURCE Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.