Nikhil Palekar,* MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry, and Medical Director of the Center for Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, is available to discuss the newly approved FDA treatment for Alzheimer’s disease called Adacunamab.
Dr. Palekar can address these issues with the drug and its potential to change treatment for some Alzheimer’s patients:
- This is the first disease modifying medication to be approved for Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCIa) and mild Alzheimer’s disease since 2003. It will provide another treatment option for patients struggling with this illness. Although the medication does not reverse or halt memory loss, it has shown to slow progression of the disease and improve functioning which would provide patients with more time to maintain their independence.
- One of the main concerns is the potential for patients to develop side-effect called ARIA (Amyloid Related Imaging Abnormality) which presents as swelling or edema in the brain and in some cases micro-bleeds. These side-effects can be minimized by slow dose titration and monitoring with a Brain MRI after each treatment.
- The decision to be placed on this medication involves an evaluation of the disease stage of the patient, confirmation of amyloid in the brain via lumbar puncture or Amyloid PET scan (brain imaging) and understanding of the benefits vs. risks associated with taking the medication.
- It’s too early to predict the full impact of this drug. As more people receive the treatment and are monitored for its effects, we will have a better understanding of its impact on slowing the progression of cognitive symptoms in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCIa) and mild Alzheimer’s disease.
*Dr. Palekar is a consultant for Biogen, the company that manufactures Adacunamab