TEXAS, USA — The FDA has approved a new drug Alzheimer's drug, Aduhelm (aducanumab). This is the first new treatment approved since 2003. Nearly two decades later, this drug is bringing hope to people who have been affected by the disease.
"If the factors were right that would be something that I would want to look at for my grandmother because that could give you more precious time. You know the person living with the disease but then all the loved ones and caregivers," says Julie Grey, Alzheimer's Association Director of Development.
This drug is different than other ones that came before it because it targets the "fundamental pathophysiology of the disease."
"This drug is the first of its kind because the drugs that we’ve had previously prevent the progression of the disease and this drug actually can treat the underlying disorder of the disease,"
However, with there are still some unanswered questions surrounding Aducanumab.
"We haven’t seen any clinical benefits of this yet so that’s kind of the hitch in our giddy up, that’s kind of where we’re not sure if this drug can actually be as beneficial as it sounds because we’re not really seeing any clinical benefit in the clinical trials," says Stickels.
This infusion-based drug also has some severe side effects.
"They range from mild which can be a headache or confusion to moderate which can be increasing your risk of falls. Which can be very detrimental to the geriatric population and to even severe such as an infusion reaction so you get your swelling the front swelling such as a brain swelling also to be a pretty big factor at this medication,"
Another concern raised about this drug is the hefty price tag that comes with it.
"It’s about $56,000 a year that doesn’t even include your doctor visits, it doesn’t include any of the administration fees," says Stickels.
With the unknown still present, medical professionals still think this new drug is a step in the right direction.
"I think this could be a good backbone for maybe some other possible drugs in the future because it does show that it can reduce the amyloid plaques in the brain so it is showing some benefit," says Stickels.
"I’m still personally, I’m hopeful the Association is very hopeful that this is getting us in that right direction," says Grey.