First FDA Approved Drug to Slow Alzheimer’s

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – it slowly steals your memories and takes away your mind. There is no cure, yet, but now, a newly FDA-approved drug is helping to slow its progression before it’s too late

Seventy-seven-year-old Joan Murtaugh is sifting through a lifetime of memories. But a few years ago, Joan and her husband Larry felt something was off.

“I did see Joan go through a decline,” Larry remembers

Joan was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. There was nothing doctors could do. But now, a recently FDA-approved drug helps slow the progression.

The medication, Leqembi, was the first drug to receive full approval. It reduces amyloid plaque in the brain that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease

“If, somehow, you interrupt this cascade of amyloid buildup in the brain, you may be able to slow down this progression,” Cleveland Clinic neurogeriatrician, Babak Tousi, MD, explains.

Early-stage Alzheimer’s patients who received the medication had a 27 percent reduction of amyloid beta plaque, and a slower rate of cognitive decline. Doctors also saw a decrease in another harmful brain protein, tau tangles.

Dr. Tousi adds, “It’s not just removing the plaque amyloid, we were able to show all these changes in this biomarkers of the disease.” Joan has been on the medication for three years.

“I think she’s clear, she’s sharper,” Larry says proudly about his wife.

Joan tells Ivanhoe, “When I think about it, I can still drive a car. I mean, I can go back and forth and do the things I always did.” Dr. Tousi believes this is just the beginning. Clinical trials are already underway using Leqembi on people who are at high risk for Alzheimer’s but are not showing any signs of cognitive decline. In its approval, the FDA included its strongest warning label — called a boxed warning — about side effects, noting that Leqembi can lead to bleeding and brain swelling.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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