New drug for Alzheimer’s disease approved in US

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Published: 23/06/2021

A new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved in the United States and could be available in the UK from as early as next year.

Aducanumab is the first new drug to get approval in the US for more than 20 years. It has shown to benefit some people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, by helping to prevent the build-up of the amaloid protein that causes cognitive decline.

While not everyone who took part in the clinical trials for Aducanumab saw positive results, those who did found they were better able to travel independently, perform household chores, and manage their finances.

If Aducanumab is approved by the UK and European regulatory authorities, it will likely only be available to people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, given the lack of treatments available for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the news is a significant stepping stone and could support the development of other anti-amyloid drugs.

Dr Richard Oakley, the Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, a national charity raising vital funds for dementia research and support for people living with a form of dementia, said: “This is just the beginning of the road to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. As this drug will only benefit a proportion of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, there are hundreds of thousands more who may not be eligible. We must keep searching for drugs for all stages of Alzheimer’s disease and for other types of dementia.”

Aducanumab is now going to be tracked by scientists in the US, in a further trial to monitor its impact. To be granted approval in the UK, the drug will have to be scrutinised by a number of agencies, who may demand further trials to assess its benefits. We can expect to hear the outcome from the European Medicines Agency from October this year, with a UK result following in 2022.

Alzheimer’s Society has produced a short film about the announcement, featuring Dr Richard Oakley, which you can watch here. You can also read more on Alzheimer’s Society’s research blog.

As a provider of quality Alzheimer’s homecare and dementia care at home services, we support the vital work of Alzheimer’s Society and have raised over £50,000 for the charity since our partnership started in April 2019.

The positive news about Aducanumab comes as we look to launch our innovative Dementia Support Programme in the coming months. This programme, developed in partnership with leading dementia author Jackie Poole, will provide an enhanced offering that sits alongside our core dementia care services, enabling even more people with dementia to continue living comfortably in the familiar surroundings of their own home.

Do you provide dementia homecare for a loved one? If you would like to know more about how Right at Home can provide dementia home help to support you and your family, please contact your local Right at Home office.