The Newly Approved Alzheimer’s Treatment Brings Hope
The Alzheimer’s disease community received fantastic news last week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Aside from the apparent reason, the approval of the drug Aduhelm (aducanumab) is encouraging because it’s been nearly two decades since a new treatment for the most common form of dementia has been approved. Of course, we continue to anticipate a cure, but the FDA’s approval of Aduhelm gives our community hope. It is a step in the right direction, which motivates patients and caregivers to keep placing one foot in front of the other.
Announcements regarding upcoming medications that may be available down the road offer deferred hope to people affected by the disease. We often hear about progress in a laboratory, or that a medication in clinical trials holds promise, only to be informed that the jury’s still out. We are told that the drug’s effectiveness and safety won’t be determined for years to come.
The news regarding the FDA’s approval of Aduhelm lands differently on the ears of folks who are desperate for a cure. There are more than 6 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. who need a cure sooner than later. Now, the pharmaceutical company Biogen has brought hope much closer.
The reason for hope
Aduhelm is the first treatment of its kind for Alzheimer’s. Up until now, Alzheimer’s medications only treated the symptoms. Aduhelm, a disease-modifying therapy, could potentially treat the actual illness by slowing disease progression.
The new medication is believed to work by targeting plaques, or clumps of amyloid proteins that build up between neurons in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Aduhelm adheres to these amyloid plaques, tricking the body’s immune system into believing the plaque is a foreign invader. Scientists hope this will have a domino effect: The body will remove the plaque, which will help clear the neuro pathways, and as brain cells stop dying, cognitive function will improve.
If you or a loved one is experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s, you may be a candidate for Aduhelm. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms but haven’t been diagnosed, see your healthcare provider right away. Early diagnosis is key to prevention, and with the introduction of Aduhelm, we now may have a treatment that could help slow the progression.
Unfortunately, clinical trials of the drug only included people with mild symptoms, but don’t lose heart. History has taught us that one breakthrough makes way for more. As a result, we can expect more advances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
What to do next?
Biogen is shipping the intravenous transfusion medication to 900 healthcare facilities over the next few weeks. Before the drug is administered, the patient must undergo additional testing to determine if plaque is present in the brain. We’ll have to stay tuned to learn when treatments are available to patients. Currently, cost is a factor. But again, if history’s taught us anything, it’s that medication prices usually level out, primarily as more companies break through with effective treatments.
Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.