Photo: Eisai website

Doc­tors in­clined to pre­scribe new Alzheimer’s drug de­spite con­cerns

Doc­tors who treat Alzheimer’s pa­tients say they’re like­ly to pre­scribe Ei­sai and Bio­gen’s new ther­a­py ap­proved Fri­day, but sound­ed notes of cau­tion over the lack of in­sur­ance cov­er­age for the drug and a num­ber of wor­ry­ing side ef­fects, in­clud­ing sev­er­al re­ports of pa­tient deaths.

The drug, which was known as lecanemab and will be sold un­der the brand name Leqem­bi, re­duced the rate of cog­ni­tive de­cline by 27% in a study of near­ly 1,800 peo­ple with ear­ly-stage Alzheimer’s, of­fer­ing new hope af­ter decades of failed clin­i­cal tri­als and con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing the ap­proval of Aduhelm in 2021. The re­sults, doc­tors stat­ed, make the drug an op­tion for pa­tients like those in the tri­al, with mild cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment and el­e­vat­ed lev­els of amy­loid, a pro­tein in the brain as­so­ci­at­ed with Alzheimer’s.

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