Alzheimer’s drug may help those in the first stage of dementia

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A new medication could be a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, but there are concerns about its effectiveness and its high price. Tonight we look at this new Alzheimer’s treatment as part of our monthly AARP sponsored segment that highlights issues important to older adults in Arizona. Kinsey McManus, with the Alzheimer’s Association, Desert Southwest Chapter, talked to us about this new Alzheimer’s drug.

“Aduhelm is the first medication of its kind in Alzheimer’s, dementia treatment. It is the first medication to be released that treats one of the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease–which is a buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. So, the medication itself is actually what we think is going to slow the cognitive decline for people who are in the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease or experiencing mild cognitive impairment, as a result of Alzheimer’s disease,” McManus said.

Some people are concerned this drug won’t work but McManus noted that during the drug testing period, “the trial did show that for people with a mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s, or that first stage of Alzheimer’s dementia, that it can make a difference.”

This drug is promising but McManus wants us, “… to be really open about the reality that this is something for early in the disease course that we know of now. Now they may do research later, you know, for people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, but right now for what we know it’s something for early in the disease course.”

Right now the price of this drug is $56,000 a year and McManus hopes it will become more accessible to those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

“It is so critical that we get the price down to something that is reasonable for the broad community this really all communities need access to be able to take this medication if they’re indicated that they would benefit from it,” McManus said.

Kinsey McManus, Program Director, Alzheimer's Association, Desert Southwest Chapter

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