Getting Answers: new Alzheimer’s drug approved by FDA
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers after the FDA approved a new drug that works to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
On Friday, the FDA granted accelerated approval of the drug Lecanemab, marketed as Leqembi. This new drug is used to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients.
The drug was on an 18-month clinical trial and was reported to slow the rate of cognitive decline by about 27%
Western Mass News spoke with Dr. Stuart Anfang, the Vice Chair of Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center. He explained to us why the FDA fast tracked it.
“In part, because there is nothing else like it, but most likely, there will be a plan to do more long term clinical trials,” Dr. Anfang said.
Instead of taking a pill, this drug requires IV infusions twice a month with the cost being around $26,500 each month.
While Leqembi looks to be more promising than other Alzheimer’s treatments, the side effects could be severe. The new drug could potentially cause brain swelling and brain bleeding.
“You have to get some brain scans and other things beforehand to see if you are clinically eligible for it,” Dr. Anfang told us. “You have to be closely monitored for things like brain swelling and headaches.”
While this is a new development for those suffering with Alzheimer’s, Dr. Anfang is saying people should remain cautiously optimistic with the results.
“People also want to be clear in what they are taking and to understand that it’s not a cure,” he said. “It doesn’t stop Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t reverse Alzheimer’s; it’s designed to slow down the progression of the process.”
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