Omaha Alzheimer’s Association encouraged by new drug research

The FDA has given accelerated approval to a drug that appears to slow cognitive decline.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 4:13 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – As the Food and Drug Administration takes action on a new experimental drug meant to treat people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a local organization is encouraged by its findings in trials and its potential future.

The drug is called Lecanemab. Researchers believe it appears to slow the progression of cognitive decline.

In Nebraska, there are 35,000 people older than 65 living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter.

The association expects that number to rise to 40,000 in the next two years.

Sharon Stephens is the Executive Director of the Nebraska chapter. Her father is 90 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s.

“The chance that we have a class of drugs that’s going to make an impact early on is amazing,” Stephens said. “The second piece of that is that we know when a class of drugs is approved it opens the pipeline for other drugs. It builds momentum.”

Right now there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, Lecanemab is supposedly one of the first experimental drugs that have shown progress in slowing the neurological disease that causes the brain to shrink.

“It’s very exciting,” Stephens said. “This is a class of drugs that has an impact early on in the disease for those who have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. It can give those suffering from MCI more time, and for us, that is a huge victory.”

There are some concerns about side effects of this drug during the trial. They include brain swelling and bleeding. There are also questions about coverage for the drug when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.