ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been just a little over a week since the Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab was fully approved by the FDA, and now another one is on its way, making significant strides during clinical trials.
Donanemab is said to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration by the end of this year. According to studies, the drug has even better results than those that came before it.
Donanemab is Eli Lilly and Company’s investigational antibody that targets the Beta Amyloid in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease. The drug was granted breakthrough therapy meaning development and review of the drug can be expedited to hopefully help those currently diagnosed with the disease.
In clinical trials, Donanemab was found to slow progression by up to 60% for Alzheimer’s disease in the earliest, symptomatic stages. Only those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the earliest stages would be able to take this medication. If approved by the FDA at the end of this year, the drug would expand treatment options to nearly 6 million Americans living with the disease.
Lauren Ashburn is the Associate Director of Advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association of the Western New York Chapter. She says this drug, in particular, has promising results for the community.
“They’ve seen that it’s both successful in people that have taken it very early on, so in the early stages of the disease, and for about 12 to 18 months. But the difference with this medication is that you may not have to be on this medication for the rest of your life. They actually see that the disease stopped progressing even after they were done taking the drug, which is huge! And that means everything in terms of timing and cost, it’s just really exciting.”
Now that Alzheimer’s drugs are available, medical experts encourage people to look out for early signs and get a diagnosis from their doctors. Like other medications, donanemab comes with side effects. Drugs that clear amyloid plaque can cause brain swelling and bleeding that, in some cases, can be severe and even fatal. You should consult your doctor before taking the drug.
For more assistance, reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 by calling 1-800-272-3900.