Alzheimer’s Alliance member speaks on FDA’s approval of new treatment, Medicare coverage
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the drug Leqembi, a revolutionary development in the fight to cure Alzheimer’s.
The decision makes history as the drug is the first to be proven to effectively slow cognitive decline in patients who have mild impairments and memory loss. While the drug is not a cure, there is now hope for those who are in the early stages of the disease. The drug targets and clears amyloid plaque buildups in the brain that are associated with the disease.
“We’re really excited about any kind of treatment. There just aren’t good treatments for Alzheimer’s and dementia right now, and it’s such a frustrating situation for families to be in,” said Rebecca Smith from the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County. “So any kind of treatment that can come alongside and slow the disease is going to be a win in our book.”
She said the drug could bring much needed relief to some of their clients and their clients’ families. Smith’s late grandfather had Alzheimer’s.
“It would have been wonderful to have more time with him, because he got so confused so fast, so just to give families more time, it’s a beautiful thing,” she said, fighting back tears.
The drug received accelerated approval from the FDA back in January, and Medicare did not cover the costs of the drug for most. Patients have had to pay over $26,000 out-of-pocket, but today’s approval also means Leqembi should be widely covered by Medicare, helping those over 65 afford it.
Some patients experienced side effects during clinical trials that have taken place over the last few years. These include brain swelling and bleeding, so constant brain imaging and monitoring is required for anyone prescribed Leqembi.
This is a groundbreaking step towards finding the cure for this prevalent and deadly disease.
Copyright 2023 KLTV. All rights reserved.