Alzheimer’s Research Is On a Roll

There is some exciting news coming out of medical research lately, particularly as it pertains to Alzheimer’s disease.

In early July, the Food and Drug Administration granted approval to the drug Leqembi, generically known as lecanemab, to target what it calls “the fundamental pathophysiology” of the disease. In layman’s terms, the treatment targets and affects the underlying process of Alzheimer’s instead of just treating the symptoms. This is the first time a drug meant to slow the disease’s progression has received full approval. 

In studies, Leqembi reduced the amyloid beta plaque, which is one of the markers of the disease.

The FDA says Leqembi is meant to be administered in “very early stages” of the disease on patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.

While this is certainly an exciting development that’s indicative a progressive against the disease, some medical professionals are quick to tamp down the excitement.

NBC News says Dr. Ronald Peterson, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, was quick to point out the drug is not a cure and does not stop the disease. Instead, Peterson calls it a “first step” for future therapeutics.

Still others in the research community warn that the so-called “black-box warning” — which is the highest level of safety guidance the FDA issues — about brain swelling and bleeding makes it absolutely essential for physicians to be judicious in weighing benefits and risks.

Despite the drawbacks, the drug’s approval is still a promising sign that doctors are learning more about the disease every day. In fact, the approval of a second drug, which also may slow the progression, is looking more likely by the end of the year.

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