US Drugs Watchdog Gives Thumbs Up To Treatment Which Slows Down Alzheimer's Disease

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The first drug used to treat Alzheimer's Disease has received full approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration.

This comes after it emerged that the drug Leqembi, which was developed by pharmaceutical firms Biogen in the US, and Eisai in Tokoyo, slowed down cognitive decline by 27%, according to data collected from the trials for the drug. 

Leqembi is an antibody treatment, which is injected into the brain, reducing amyloid beta, which is a protein that builds into plaques, causing brain cells to die, along with brain shrinkage. 

This has also been described as potentially the "beginning of the end" for this disease. 

The drug can be administered to patients in early stages of the disease, and is taken once every two weeks.

“Today’s action is the first verification that a drug targeting the underlying disease process of Alzheimer’s disease has shown clinical benefit in this devastating disease", Teresa Buracchio, acting director of the Office of Neuroscience at the FDA's Centre of Drug Evaluation and Research said.

"This confirmatory study verified that it is a safe and effective treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease". 

"hugely positive and significant"

This news has been welcomed by the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland research and policy manager, Dr Laura O'Philbin, who said, “The FDA’s decision to grant accelerated approval of Leqembi is a hugely positive and significant step closer to a credible treatment option for mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease". 

“In Europe, we expect Eisai to file for marketing approval with the European Medicines Agency by March this year", she added. “The world is watching and waiting, and there is no denying that we have entered into a hugely exciting time in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, with news of other drug therapies also expected this year”.

As it stands, there are an estimated 64,000 people suffering with dementia in Ireland, with that figure expected to increase to 150,000 by 2045. 



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