New Alzheimer’s drug rais­es hopes — along with ques­tions

The FDA has ap­proved Leqem­bi, the first dis­ease-mod­i­fy­ing treat­ment for ear­ly-stage Alzheimer’s and a pre­cur­sor con­di­tion, mild cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment. Medicare has said it will pay for the ther­a­py. Med­ical cen­ters across the coun­try are scram­bling to fi­nal­ize poli­cies and pro­ce­dures for pro­vid­ing the med­ica­tion to pa­tients, pos­si­bly by sum­mer’s end or ear­ly au­tumn.

It’s a fraught mo­ment, with hope run­ning high for fam­i­lies and oth­er promis­ing ther­a­pies such as do­nanemab on the hori­zon. Still, med­ical providers are cau­tious. “This is an im­por­tant first step in de­vel­op­ing treat­ments for com­plex neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases, but it’s just a first step,” said Ronald Pe­tersen, di­rec­tor of the Mayo Clin­ic’s Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Re­search Cen­ter in Rochester, Min­neso­ta.

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