Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones now have a renewed cause for hope. For the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an Alzheimer’s medication that slows the progression of the disease.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disorder involving parts of the brain that control memory, thoughts, and language. It is a progressive disease that typically begins with mild memory loss and advances to the inability to hold a conversation or perform basic tasks.
Experts estimate approximately 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Most Alzheimer’s patients are older than 65, but the disease can also affect people younger than 65.
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully known. However, the disease is characterized by changes in the brain that deteriorate neurons and their connections.
New FDA-Approved Alzheimer’s Drug
On June 7, 2021, the FDA announced its approval of a drug called Aduhelm to treat patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The FDA placed Aduhelm on their accelerated approval pathway, which is used when a drug for a serious illness provides meaningful therapeutic advantages over existing medications.
Aduhelm is a protein compound that acts as an antibody. It targets plaque buildups known as amyloid plaques that are typically found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. These plaques contain the beta-amyloid protein, which is believed to disrupt cell communication and trigger inflammation, causing brain cell destruction. Aduhelm is designed to slow Alzheimer’s patients’ cognitive decline by reducing levels of beta-amyloid in the brain.
After the success of their initial trials, Biogen — the biotech company that produced Aduhelm — is now required by the FDA to conduct a large clinical trial to determine the full scope of the drug’s effectiveness. In the meantime, patients will have access to the drug, administered via intravenous infusion on a monthly basis.
What Makes This Alzheimer’s Drug Different?
While current Alzheimer’s therapies only treat symptoms of the disease, Aduhelm is the first Alzheimer’s drug to target the underlying process of how Alzheimer’s works. The drug’s approval is also a much-needed boon for Alzheimer’s drug research, which has typically been considered high-risk from a business perspective. Alzheimer’s drug research is now more likely to attract new funding and spur innovation, thanks to Aduhelm’s success.
Contact Home Care Assistance About Alzheimer’s Care
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, get in touch with Home Care Assistance about our in-home care options. We help seniors throughout Tampa, Florida, live as confidently and independently as possible with our innovative approach to Alzheimer’s care.
You can call us at 813-488-5804 or submit our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our in-home Alzheimer’s care requires no long-term commitments, and we tailor our services to your senior’s exact needs to deliver the most comprehensive care.