Unanswered Questions with Newly Approved Alzheimer’s Drug

September 2021 – In the Fall Issue of the the St Barnabas Health System’s Faith & Works Magazine, Dr. Joseph Maroon discusses the latest FDA-approved medication for Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, Aducanumab. is the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 18 years and was granted accelerated approval by the FDA in June, 2021.  This drug is intended for the millions who suffer with this horrible disease. In his article, entitled, Making Sense of the New Alzheimer’s Medication, Dr. Maroon relates the following questions and concerns:

“……does the drug slow down the Alzheimer’s process and allow people living with the disease to keep their memories and other cognitive abilities longer? Usually, when FDA approval has been granted this question has been asked and answered. But in the case of Aducanumab, there are still unanswered questions and controversy on its approval.

The biggest controversy is that although the manufacturer, Biogen, was able to show Aducanumab could reduce the amount of amyloid plaques, this alone is not correlated with dementia. Not everyone with amyloid plaques has Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline. Of two large clinical studies on effectiveness, side effects and safety, only one marginally slowed down the decline of thinking, memory and function. Furthermore, micro hemorrhages and brain swelling were side effects seen in some patients.

Read the entire article available at the Faith & Works Magazine website.  As Dr. Maroon noted he is still personally glad that the treatment of Alzheimer’s remains one of the most important health issues the pharmaceutical industry is trying to solve. Ad he remains optimistic that the use of medication may provide a significant help to those suffering from this terrible condition.