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FDA Approved Alzheimer’s Treatment



Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder affecting more than 6.5 million Americans that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks associated with daily life. The specific causes of Alzheimer’s are not fully known, and it is characterized by changes in the brain, notably beta-amyloid plaque buildup that result in the loss of neurons and their connections.

Aducanumab has been given accelerated approval by the FDA for treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Aducanumab was the first treatment that showed that by removing beta-amyloid, one of the classic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, from the brain reduces cognitive and functional decline in people who have early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about this treatment should consult their healthcare provider and have a conversation about the potential use of Aducanumab for their Alzheimer’s.

While Aducanumab is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, or all other dementia related diseases, it addresses the underlying biology of the disease, reducing beta-amyloid plaques and thus leading to a reduction in the clinical decline characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. This is different than previously tested treatments, which simply treated the symptoms, rather than getting to the underlying disease process of Alzheimer’s itself. This potentially gives those living with Alzheimer’s more time to actively participate in daily life, maintain independence, and hold onto memories longer.

FAQs for Aducanumab

Who Should take this drug?

Aducanumab is intended for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, mainly those with early Alzheimer’s symptoms and mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia as well as evidence of amyloid plaque build up in the brain. This course of treatment may be appropriate for those in the disease state studied in the clinical trials, though there is nothing to suggest issues with safety or efficacy for initiating treatment at different stages of progression of the disease.

How does this drug work?

Aducanumab works mainly by targeting and removing specific forms of beta-amyloids that accumulate into plaques, which may contribute to cell death and tissue loss in areas of the brain that are important for memory, thinking, learning, and behavior. While the drug does not prevent the brain from producing beta-amyloids, it reduces the amount that is produced.

Will the drug restore memories or cognitive function that has previously been lost due to Alzheimer’s?

There is no evidence that this drug can restore any lost memories or cognitive function due to Alzheimer’s.

How can I receive this treatment?

If you or a loved one is experiencing changes in memory, it is best to speak to a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation and professional diagnosis. A healthcare professional should test to confirm the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain before prescribing this treatment.

How is this drug administered?

Aducanumab is administered intravenously via a 45-60 minute infusion every 4 weeks, which can be done in a hospital of an infusion therapy center. IV  is the most effective method of treatment for this drug to reach the brain.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects include amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA), headache, and falling. There is a potential risk of allergic reaction as well. ARIA is common and can be serious, typically showing itself as a temporary swelling in areas of the brain that usually resolves over time. Some people also have some bleeding in or on the surface of the brain with the swelling, though most people who present with brain swelling have no symptoms of the side effect at all. Some symptoms of ARIA may be headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and changes in vision.



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