New Research Gives Hope to Stroke Survivors with Uncontrolled Emotions

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Stroke survivors can face daunting physical rehabilitation challenges that may be complicated by uncontrollable outbursts of emotions, such as laughing or crying. This condition, called pseudobulbar affect (PBA) or emotional lability, may affect up to one third of the four million stroke survivors in the U.S. today.

The National Stroke Association (NSA) and AVANIR Pharmaceuticals recently presented research that shows promise for a new treatment for PBA.

In a webcast seminar broadcast last week to National Stroke Association's Stroke Center Network, Dr. Randolph B. Schiffer of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, presented current information about PBA as well as future developments in possible treatments.

PBA affects a diverse population of patients with neurologic disorders, including those with Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, Parkinson's, and those with neuronal damage following stroke or traumatic brain injury. While the underlying causes of PBA vary from patient to patient, those with the condition experience uncontrolled emotional outbursts and inappropriate responses to various situations. In the simplest terms, PBA can cause a stroke survivor to laugh at a funeral or cry at the circus.

The webcast was sponsored by AVANIR Pharmaceuticals as part of a medical education effort to increase doctor and patient awareness of pseudobulbar affect. AVANIR is currently conducting clinical trials on an experimental drug, Neurodex(TM), to treat PBA. A clinical trial for patients with multiple sclerosis and PBA is underway at 53 clinical sites in the United States and Israel. Another trial is ongoing for patients with PBA related to stroke, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, Parkinson's, and traumatic brain injury.

"AVANIR is pleased to support the National Stroke Association and provide information on this condition to its network of researchers, clinicians and healthcare providers," said Dr. Gus Fernandez, Vice President of Commercial Development for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals. "We attended NSA's North American Stroke Meeting as well, and see these events as opportunities to highlight pseudobulbar affect and speak with people about the condition. We feel that medical education programs open up communication channels. The feedback that we get from patients, physicians and healthcare providers is an important element of our medical education and awareness effort."

The National Stroke Association is the only national organization dedicated solely to stroke prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for stroke survivors, their families and healthcare professionals. NSA's Stroke Center Network is a program offered to local hospitals to help them improve the overall quality of stroke prevention and treatment programs. NSA's consumer magazine Stroke Smart recently published an article on PBA. For a copy of the magazine, call 1-800-STROKES or visit www.stroke.org .

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (Amex: AVN) is a drug discovery and development company focused on the development of treatments for central nervous system disorders and inflammatory diseases. AVANIR's Neurodex(TM) is being tested for pseudobulbar affect and neuropathic pain. Using its proprietary Xenerex(TM) technology, AVANIR also develops human monoclonal antibodies for infectious diseases and other therapeutic applications. Further information about AVANIR can be found at www.avanir.com .

AVANIR press releases and presentations, including any forward-looking statements contained therein, should be reviewed in conjunction with the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other publicly available information regarding the company. Copies of such information are available from AVANIR 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 as "estimate," "anticipate," "intend," "plan" or "expect." Research findings are not always supportable by evidence obtained from subsequent clinical trials and the Company can make no assurances that the Neurodex(TM) clinical trials will yield positive results. Final review decisions made by the FDA and other regulatory agencies concerning clinical trial results are unpredictable and outside the influence and/or control of the Company. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

SOURCE: National Stroke Association 12/29/2003

CONTACT: Diane Mulligan-Fairfield, Vice President, National
Communications of National Stroke Association, +1-303-754-0920
Web site: http://www.stroke.org
http://www.avanir.com