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New medication for Alzheimer’s disease that slows cognitive decline

A new drug called lecanemab developed by Biogen is the first Alzheimer’s medication found to slow the cognitive decline on Alzheimer’s disease. It works by attacking the buildup of amyloid protein which is one of the main reasons for cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease, while other medications have only helped boost brain chemicals but don’t slow cognitive decline.

Lecanemab is reported to cause brain inflammation known as ARIA-E in 12.6% of people which has the potential to be lethal but is treatable if taking Lecanemab is stopped or the dose reduced. Brain scans can detect ARIA-E in most people. 

Lecanemab has yet to receive FDA approval but could be approved as early as January 2023. This medication is most effective for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Lecanemab is not a cure but can slow the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease by 27% as was shown in an 18-month study.

When the medication gets FDA approval and released to the community, we will better understand its benefits and side-effects. People with prescriptions will require regular MRI scans to ensure they keep on top of brain swelling side-effects.                  

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