(WTNH) — The FDA has approved an experimental drug for treating early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, the first new drug in over 20 years. Monday, we spoke to a Connecticut woman who has been taking the drug and says it is helping her.
“We always felt it was helping to slow down the progression; we know it’s not a cure but slow it down a bit,” said Carol Conklin.
Carol Conklin and Janet Peck of Colchester have been together for 45 years and want many more together. The couple is well known for their fight for same-sex marriage in Connecticut.
Carol was in trials of the drug known as Aduhelm, and recently went back on the drug.
“Definitely after getting the drug, I felt more like myself again,” said Carol.
Janet notices it, too.
“She’s more engaged with life, she’s more alive. It’s like her brain woke up after a long time,” said Janet. “I came back, she’d mowed the lawn. She’s emptied the trash, she was trying to get on a Zoom meeting.”
The drug was developed for patients with mild cognitive impairment, not severe dementia. It does not just ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s in some, it slowed the disease’s progression.
Kristen Cusato with the Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut knows first hand. She lost her mother to the disease eight years ago and is thrilled about what drug results are revealing.
“It’s shown to take away some of those amyloid plaques in the brain and knowing that it’s just like a big beacon of hope for all these families,” Cusato said. “Here we go, wouldn’t it be amazing if people could live longer quality lives with this disease? And that’s what we’ve been hoping for for so long.”
Cusato says this drug approval gives Alzheimer’s families hope.
“I want more time with her,” Janet said. “And I get emotional every time I say that…We’ve got a lot more living to do and a lot more love to give each other.”
And Cusato tells News 8 there are several other drugs in the pipeline that are promising to be disease-modifying. Her goal is to continue educating the public and doctors on making this drug as available as it is needed.