FDA Approval of Drug to Treat Alzheimer’s Met With Backlash
Two weeks ago, the FDA approved the first drug to treat Alzheimer’s in more than 15 years, despite an independent committee not endorsing Aduhelm. Chair of Neurology at Tulane School of Medicine Dr. Demetrius Maraganore said this is the first drug to reduce amyloids in the brain which are prevalent among patients.
“But it’s controversial because not all scientists believe that removing amyloid is in fact the targeted strategy to prevent Alzheimer’s or reverse Alzheimer’s,” Maraganore said.
He says this drug will put the reducing amyloid theory to the test.
But with a hefty price tag of $56,000 annually per patient Maraganore said no physician with a good conscience is going to recommend a medication with uncertain benefits that are not cost-effective.
“Clearly for this to be a viable option either the medicare and other third-party insurers are going to need to agree to pay for this treatment,” Maraganore said.
Maraganore said however patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s could still possibly benefit from the medication and he’s recommending that his patients look at participating in a study.
“That’s how I’m going to offer the treatment to my patients. I feel we need to learn more about this drug and I think it would be to some extent reckless to prescribe this drug outside of a study at this point,” Maraganore said.
It’s estimated that 92,000 residents over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s in Louisiana.