San Diego, March 1, 2006 -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:AVN.R) announced today that Matthew R. Ruth has joined the company in the newly created role of Vice President of Sales.  Mr. Ruth will be responsible for building, training and directing Avanir's sales organization.  


Prior to joining Avanir, Mr. Ruth was the Western Regional Director of Sales for Allergan Pharmaceuticals, where he directed and managed an 85 person sales division.  Prior to this role, Mr. Ruth spent five years in various Sales, Marketing and General Management roles for Allergan.  Previously, Mr. Ruth worked for a number of healthcare related companies including Wilson Cook Medical, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Healthcare in progressively ascending levels of responsibility.  Mr. Ruth earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. 


"Matt brings a strong track record of success in sales management to Avanir," said Keith Katkin, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing.  "Matt's general management experience as well as his recent experience leading a sales force expansion at Allergan makes him the ideal candidate to help Avanir become a leader in the field of neurology."


About Avanir

Avanir Pharmaceuticals is focused on developing and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of chronic diseases.  Avanir's product candidates address therapeutic markets that include central nervous system and cardiovascular disorders, inflammation, and infectious diseases.  Avanir previously announced positive results in the second of two required Phase III clinical trials of Neurodex™, an investigational new drug for the treatment of involuntary emotional expression disorder (IEED).  Additionally, Avanir has initiated a Phase III clinical trial for Neurodex as a potential treatment in patients with diabetic neuropathic pain, a second indication for Neurodex.  Avanir has active collaborations with two international pharmaceutical companies: Novartis International Pharmaceutical Ltd., for the treatment of inflammatory disease and AstraZeneca, for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.  The Company's first commercialized product, "abreva®", is marketed in North America by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and is the leading over-the-counter product for the treatment of cold sores.  Further information about Avanir can be found at www.avanir.com.


Forward Looking Statement

The information contained in this press release, including any forward-looking statements contained herein, should be reviewed in conjunction with the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q and other publicly available information regarding the Company.  Copies of such information are available from the company upon request.  Such publicly available information sets forth many risks and uncertainties related to the company's business and technology.  Forward-looking statements often contain such words like "estimate," "anticipate," "believe," "plan" or "expect".  Avanir disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


Avanir Pharmaceuticals Contacts:

Patrick O'Brien                                                   Patrice Saxon

858-622-5216                                                    858-622-5202

pobrien@avanir.com                                           psaxon@avanir.com


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Mar 01, 2006