Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

Alzheimer's Disease Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating medical conditions affecting seniors today. As our population has aged, this threat has grown ever larger, affecting millions of seniors and their families. For years doctors have worked to find an effective treatment or even a clue to the exact cause of Alzheimer’s.

Now, it appears that the first real progress is coming. The drug, Lecanemab, has been shown to slow “cognitive decline” in Alzheimer’s patients. In a clinical trial covering 1,800 patients with early Alzheimer’s, the drug slowed the development of symptoms by about one-quarter. This is a modest effect, but it points the way to more effective treatments in the future. Importantly, it provides evidence that a naturally occurring protein is involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s patients have an abnormally high concentration of beta-amyloid protein in brain tissue. It is thought that the accumulation of this protein around brain cells damages them and leads to Alzheimer’s symptoms. Lecanemab interrupts this process, slowing the advance of symptoms like memory loss and lowered problem-solving ability. This is a very early stage of progress in finding a complete solution, but it is still very good news.

Here are some questions and key points you will want to cover-

• When will this treatment be available? U.S. drug regulators will give Lecanemab “fast-track” approval, moving it ahead of less important drugs. This is not a guarantee of a quick OK, but if all goes well, there could be limited-use approval early in 2023.

• Who should consider this treatment? Lecanemab is moderately effective if used in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It limits the rate at which damage to brain cells occurs, but it cannot reverse existing damage. It will be for use in early-stage Alzheimer’s.

• How much benefit will a typical Alzheimer’s patient get from Lecanemab? This will vary from patient to patient. If the benefits of Lecanemab are sustained, experts think that a patient might have an extra year and a half of independent living before needing help to remain at home. As far from perfect as this is, it is still a benefit.

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• How do patients take Lecanemab? Lecanemab is administered as an IV drip. It will likely be necessary to go to a clinic or hospital to receive the drug. In the study cited above, doses were given at 2-week intervals.

• Are there side effects to Lecanemab? Yes, there are, and some are serious involving symptoms like brain swelling. However, most side effects can be handled. Because of the side effects, doctors will carefully choose patients for this treatment.

• Who makes Lecanemab? It is being developed by Eisau, a Japanese company along with Biogen, an American researcher.

• What about the cost? Lecanemab is one of the class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies. These drugs are expensive to develop and make, so you can count on a high price. It is likely that Medicare and Part D plans will limit coverage to preapproved cases. You must balance this against the very high cost of years of Alzheimer’s disease and memory care. Count on the staff at OurSeniors.Net, your go-to magazine for seniors, to keep you informed.

• It is hoped that this first breakthrough in treatment will lead to a long line of new drugs that are safer, more effective, and easier to take. This is how progress starts- a modest improvement leading to better understanding and finally a complete solution.

Meanwhile, here is important news for seniors- according to the Centers for Disease Control, you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by making healthy lifestyle choices. Preventing and managing high blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, keeping a healthy weight, stopping smoking, and being physically active are all associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Physical activity can improve thinking, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better.

Do not drink excessively and correct hearing loss promptly. Make sure to talk to a hearing care professional to treat and manage hearing loss. OurSeniors.Net recommends one of our partners, Rx Hearing. Click on the link to learn about their excellent services.

Thanks for reading our blog and have a great day. Hope and help are on the way!