© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The FDA Just Approved A Major Alzheimer’s Drug. Now What?

Biogen is the maker of aducanumab, which has been the source of much debate amongst Alzheimer's experts.
Biogen is the maker of aducanumab, which has been the source of much debate amongst Alzheimer's experts.

On Monday, the FDA approved aducanumab, a new medication for Alzheimer’s.

It’s the first new drug for the disease in almost two decades and the first to attack the disease process itself, instead of just its symptoms.

But the FDA’s approval comes despite an intense debate over the drug’s efficacy and associated side effects.

From Kaiser Health News:

Besides questions about whether the drug works, there also are safety issues. More than one-third of patients in one of the trials experienced brain swelling and nearly 20% had brain bleeding, though those symptoms generally were mild and controllable. Because of those risks, patients receiving aducanumab have to undergo regular brain monitoring through expensive PET scans and MRI tests.

Some physicians who treat Alzheimer’s patients say they won’t prescribe the drug even if it’s approved.

We discuss what we know about aducanumab and how it will shape the future of Alzheimer’s research and treatment.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5