HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A big step forward today in the effort to not just treat but help prevent Alzheimer’s disease with the FDA approving the IV drug Lecanemab.
A Hartford Healthcare neurologist calls the medicine a potential game changer in how she treats patients.
Results of Lecanemab trials stunned Dr. Amy Sanders in the fall, with the drug slowing cognitive decline by 27% over 18 months. The drug works by disrupting amyloid plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
“Right now we have a few symptom-modifying medications. We have no disease-modifying medications until potentially today,” Dr. Sanders said. “This is potentially a game changer for every patient who has Alzheimer’s disease or a pre-Alzheimer’s kind of condition.”
“I will now have a medication to offer my patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease or the sort of pre-Alzheimer’s condition that we call mild cognitive impairment,” Dr. Sanders said.
Kristen Cusato with the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter experienced the so-called long goodbye with her own mother Linda.
“This is exciting feel like we have more time. Families have more time now if they can get on this medication,” Cusato said.
There could be a potential speed bump for those families. There are now approval issues for insurance coverage, with the drug out-of-pocket costing tens of thousands a year potentially.
Cusato reflects on how the medicine could have impacted her mom and could have helped improve her condition.
“This could have potentially given us more time, I can’t imagine that thought [it] makes you want to cry, but I’m really happy for our families if more are allowed to get this drug,” Cusato said.