A pill used to treat a nervous system disorder, known as PBA, is being overprescibed in nursing homes.
CNN reported some doctors overprescribing the drug Nuedexta, which they may have been receiving payouts from the company that supplies it.
According to the report, from 2012 to 2016 the number of pills dispensed to long-term care facilities jumped nearly 400% from nearly three million to nearly 14 million!
The company Avanir issued a statement saying,
Avanir spent more than ten years and hundreds of millions of dollars to conduct extensive clinical studies and bring Nuedexta to market. Nuedexta has a well-characterized safety profile in patient populations with neurological disease or injury.
Our goal is to give doctors truthful, accurate and balanced information so they can decide on the proper treatment for their patients. We are committed to providing information on PBA and Nuedexta in ways that are consistent with the law and the values and expectations of the doctors and patients we serve.”
experts tell CNN that PBA is very rare in dementia patients and that doctors are overprescribing the medication to help manage difficult patients.
CNN says in one LA nursing home, 46 of 162 residents were on the medication.
Medical expert Dr. Cynthia Stuart spoke with Morning Dose. to explain why this particular medication is being prescribed on a large scale.
“I think it’s more likely because the other drugs we use with patients who experience dementia have really been shown to increase mortality,” Stuart said. “Unfortunately, in the last few years we’ve really tried to pull back from using those but we don’t have any other alternatives.”
University of Maryland Medical Center’s Dr. David Marcozzi says there should be more transparency in medicine when it comes to doctors, patients, and family.
“Patients and family members should ask some of these questions,” Marcozzi said. “How much of the drug should he or she be taking? Is the drug appropriate? Drug to drug interactions that might be encountered if patient is on multiple medications? These are some of the questions that need to be answered by family, by patients. ”
If the claims turn out to be true, the same doctor says it’s important to know how much the company is influencing doctors in prescribing the drug.