At the end of November 2022, The New England Journal of Medicine published results from a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer’s drug. This was one of the most extensive clinical trials for an Alzheimer’s drug, with many participants from groups historically underrepresented in Alzheimer’s treatment trials or with comorbidities that might impact the drug’s wide-scale effectiveness. Because of these factors, this new trial marks a huge step forward for research into treatments for Alzheimer’s, and the trial results were promising.
In a field where breakthroughs are uncommon and hard-won, the tentative success of the new drug lecanemab is a hopeful sign for those with Alzheimer’s. Here’s everything you need to know about this clinical trial.
What To Know About Lecanemab, the New Alzheimer’s Drug
What Were The Results of the Lecanemab Trial?
The lecanemab clinical trial followed nearly 1,800 international participants for 18 months. It closely monitored the participants’ cognitive performance, functional performance, and behavior using brain imaging and monitoring of the disease. After using the drug, patients experienced a dramatic reduction in the amount of protein plaques in their brains, which is a serious contributor to Alzheimer’s. By the end of the study, most participants had no detectable plaques in their brains. While people who took lecanemab still experienced a cognitive decline over the 18 months of the study, they declined far slower than those in the placebo group who did not take lecanemab.
What Side Effects Occurred After Treatments With The New Alzheimer’s Drug?
Some patients who used lecanemab experienced some mild to moderate localized brain swelling. However, this side effect was not life-threatening and resolved over several weeks after patients stopped taking lecanemab. As a result, this treatment will require close clinical and MRI monitoring for the first 6-12 months.
Is The New Alzheimer’s Drug Currently Available?
Lecanemab is still undergoing clinical trials and is not yet available to the public. The FDA will likely grant accelerated approval to the drug in early 2023, followed by full approval within nine months of that.
Is The New Alzheimer’s Drug a Cure for Alzheimer’s?
Unfortunately, Lecanemab is not a cure for Alzheimer’s. However, the research on this new drug is extremely promising.
“Lecanemab is a start and not a cure,” said Anton Porsteinsson, M.D., leader of The University of Rochester Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Care, Research and Education Program (AD-CARE), in a recent interview. “It is a modest start, but represents an approach to treatment that we can build upon.”
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that even now scientists do not fully understand. Presently, scientists have identified the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells as the leading cause of Alzheimer’s. Neuroinflammation and oxidative stress are also factors that contribute to this disease. However, it’s not clear what affects a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Age, genetics, and a history of traumatic brain injuries can all increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s.
What Other Alzheimer’s Treatments Are Available?
Currently, treatment options for patients with Alzheimer’s are still extremely limited. As a multi-modal disease, it can vary significantly from person to person regarding how it presents and progresses. In addition, the changes in the brain which ultimately lead to Alzheimer’s may begin 20 to 25 years before any clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin to manifest–and by the time a person starts to show symptoms, the disease has already progressed to the point where it is difficult to treat. Aducanumab is the only medication currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s takes time and effort. If a person’s Alzheimer’s has progressed further, they may need help with daily tasks from toileting to feeding and cleaning. That’s part of what makes an in-home caregiver such a great choice for Alzheimer’s patients. If you’re a family caregiver or have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Generations Home Care can help.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.