(WKBN) – The Federal Drug Administration just announced approval for a drug to help slow progression of Alzheimer’s. The disease impacts millions of Americans.
The Alzheimer’s Drug received accelerated approval from the FDA. This is good news for the millions of individuals and families that suffer from this disease.
The CDC says more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. As of right now, Alzheimer’s is not curable. However, doctors say this new drug could possibly help slow the progression in certain cases.
“When we say Alzheimer’s, it’s a large spectrum, so there are very early stages to very advanced dementia. So at this point, there are no findings supporting the use of this medication for people with moderate to late stage dementia. This is for people in the very early stages of the disease,” said Babak Tousi, a neurogeriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers say the medication, Lecanemab, was designed to reduce a type of plaque build-up in the brain. They say the Amyloid Beta Plaque is linked to Alzheimer’s. Results from the 18-month clinical trial showed participants who received the medication, had a 27% reduction of the plaque. Though that is small number, doctors say it is a start.
“It seems we have achieved some treatment. We can affect the disease trajectory. It is a small benefit, but it still a benefit. We can slow it down and I think it’s one of many to come down the road to hopefully target it, so that’s the biggest step for us,” said Dr. Tousi.
The drug is not the cure though. It will not treat the symptoms but can help slow down the disease progression.
The FDA authorized accelerated approval of the medication. Researchers say it will be a little while before it’s widely available and covered by insurance. And even then, it will only be approved in certain cases.