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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the efficacy and safety of DM/Q (capsules containing dextromethorphan [DM] and quinidine [Q]) compared with placebo, taken twice daily, for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect over a 12-week period in multiple sclerosis patients.

Methods

A total of 150 patients were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess pseudobulbar affect with the validated Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale. Each patient also recorded the number of episodes experienced between visits, estimated quality of life and quality of relationships on visual analog scales, and completed a pain rating scale.

Results

Patients receiving DM/Q had greater reductions in Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale scores than those receiving placebo (p < 0.0001) at all clinic visits (days 15, 29, 57, and 85). All secondary end points also favored DM/Q, including the number of crying or laughing episodes (p ≤ 0.0077), quality of life (p < 0.0001), quality of relationships (p = 0.0001), and pain intensity score (p = 0.0271). DM/Q was well tolerated; only dizziness occurred with greater frequency than with placebo.

Interpretation

Results in multiple sclerosis patients were similar to those of a previous study in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, demonstrating that DM/Q may be beneficial in treating potentially disabling pseudobulbar affect in a variety of neurological disorders. Ann Neurol 2006;59:780–787