Aducanumab: Is It Right For You?
Editor's note: the Aduhelm (aducanumab) drug recommendations have changed since its original FDA approval in June 2021. You can see all updates regarding Biogen's Aduhelm here.
Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved aducanumab (Aduhelm) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In clinical trials, this drug slowed the rate of cognitive and functional decline, which could mean more valuable time for individuals to hold on to their independence, not lose their memories as quickly, and actively engage in their everyday life.
What is aducanumab?
As someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease I was pleased to see that, after a very lengthy process, this drug was approved. I have been working with the Alzheimer's Association for many years on various projects that deal with raising funds to advance research.
Is this drug for you or your loved one?
This is a decision you and your doctor will have to make. In order to qualify for the drug, you will need some diagnostic testing to determine if you have amyloid plaque buildup. With your primary health provider, you will then figure if you qualify and set up an appropriate treatment plan. You will also need to work with your insurance provider to be sure you are covered for treatment.
To me, aducanumab's approval means that doctors may become more proactive in diagnosing Alzheimer’s. An early diagnosis will be crucial for this new drug. It appears to work for people in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It has been frustrating to see people suffer through their symptoms because they have not gotten a diagnosis and proper medication.
New hope for people living with Alzheimer's
The Alzheimer’s Association has been working on many initiatives for years to help every aspect of Alzheimer’s and related dementia, including the approval of aducanumab. A couple of things that are at the forefront right now is the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act. This Act helps to provide a plan for you and your doctor to treat this disease. Another piece of legislation is geared toward getting underrepresented segments of the population the treatment they deserve for dementia.
Consider your quality of life
Personally, I think that if there is a drug out there that will increase the quality of my life for a longer time, I would take it. To me, what have I got to lose? I know people that have been in the clinical trials for aducanumab. I am happy for them and certainly hope this can help as many people as possible.
Work with your health care provider on any drug treatments you are pursuing. There are pros and cons to any drug and it is up to you and your doctor to determine what is best for you. Share your thoughts with us!
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?