5 Things to Know About the New Alzheimer's Drug, Aducanumab

3 min read
Doctors weigh in on Biogen's newly approved dementia treatment, brand name Aduhelm
Associated Press

Richard Isaacson's phone has been ringing off the hook; his inbox alerts him of a new email every few minutes. On the other end are patients and their caregivers, teeming with questions about aducanumab, the first Alzheimer's therapy to gain federal approval in nearly 20 years.

"It's been almost impossible to keep up with," says Isaacson, who is a neurologist and director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "We have a very busy clinic, and I've never had anything like this before."

Aducanumab, which will be sold under the brand name Aduhelm, was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 7, making it the first medicine on the market that aims to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, not just treat its symptoms. But its unconventional approval, which went against an advisory committee's recommendation, has left people all over the country with questions: Who can get it? Is it safe? And how much will it cost?

Here's what we know so far about aducanumab — and what still needs to be learned.

1. It clears amyloid in the brain …

But will patients see a benefit in thinking, memory and everyday living?

Amyloid plaques are a defining feature of Alzheimer's disease. These sticky clumps of protein form between the nerve cells in the brain and disrupt their function, eventually killing them. One…
by Rachel Nania,
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