New report details the meteoric rise in off-label Nuedexta prescriptions pushed on nursing home residents.
Nursing home care in Texas is at an all-time low, and a recent CNN exposé highlighting the over-prescription of a drug used to treat a rare neurological disease brings a very serious problem to light.
Nuedexta® (dextromethorphan/quinidine) is used to treat a neurological disorder called PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), characterized by uncontrolled and sudden crying or laughing, which can be seen in patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and to a lesser extent, dementia.
Even though this condition affects less than 1% of the population, the number of Nuedexta pills dispensed to long-term care facilities has jumped by nearly 400% in just four years.
Nuedexta’s risk of adverse side effects.
Nuedexta, as effective as it is for some, is not for everyone. Drugmaker Avanir Pharmaceuticals admits Nuedexta has not been extensively studied in elderly patients, and it has a laundry list of negative side effects—with the most serious one being an increased risk of death in elderly dementia patients.
The one study conducted solely on Alzheimer’s patients showed that those taking Nuedexta were more than twice as likely to experience injuries caused by falls. Nuedexta has also been shown to cause seizures, hemorrhages, and cerebrovascular events.
Aggressive marketing and off-label prescriptions.
Nuedexta has quickly risen to become the “drug du jour” in hundreds (if not thousands) of nursing homes across the country thanks to aggressive marketing from the makers of the drug.
Over the last 5 years, Nuedexta prescriptions within nursing homes across the country have steadily risen well beyond what anyone expected, and according to data brought forward by QuintilesIMS, Nuedexta sales exceeded $300 million in 2016 alone. Remarkably, more than half of all Nuedexta pills prescribed since 2012 have gone to long-term care facilities.
According to the CNN report, Avanir (together with its main subsidiary Otsuka Pharmaceuticals) has payed doctors nearly $14 million to speak about the benefits of this medication, for consulting, and other services (not to mention the millions spent on providing travel, free meals, and other perks).
Shockingly, the report alleges that close to 50 percent of all Nuedexta claims filed with Medicare originated from doctors that had received payments or some form of reimbursement from the drug maker.
One pharmaceutical industry expert, interviewed by CNN, remarked that there seemed to be a culture of prescription-first and information conveyance second. In their eyes, salespeople were playing a role in how physicians prescribe this drug.
Over-prescription of drugs is very common in nursing homes.
Nursing home residents are commonly over-prescribed drugs, which is often done with with the intent of either controlling residents or making them compliant. Nursing homes receive astronomical amounts of compensation from Medicare (a one-month supply of Nuedexta costs over $750), giving them an incentive to prescribe drugs even when its long-term side effects are unknown or haven’t been extensively studied.
The CNN report shows that the elderly are at the mercy of both pharmaceutical companies and nursing homes, and it is up to family members to ensure that their loved ones are not being abused or taken advantage of. While our law firm does help families pursue claims of nursing home abuse related to over-medication, it’s up to you to take the first step and call us for a free consultation.
If your parent or loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or are being negligently/deliberately over-medicated, please give our Texas attorneys a call today at 1-877-405-4313 to discuss your options moving forward. The consultation is absolutely free, and if we decide to help you with your case, we’ll never charge you a single penny unless (and until) we actually win your case.
Speak With a Dallas Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.