WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The FDA recently approved the first new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease in almost 20 years.
Officials with Hospice of Wichita Falls say although this drug cannot be used on all Alzheimer’s patients, families and patients are excited to get some new hope.
Aducanumab, the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 18 years and the only medicine approved that slows the progress of the disease.
“It’s supposed to be a pretty good drug at reducing the protein build-up in patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s,” Hospice of WF Associate Medical Director Arif Mahmood said.
Officials with Hospice of Wichita Falls and the Alzheimer’s Association say many families are excited to receive the clinical trial even if it only helps those who are in the early stages of the disease.
“That gives hope to many families when there hasn’t been anything. There’s so few drugs right now even available for families and then with those drugs, they don’t all work for everybody and then they only work in certain stages,” Alzheimer’s Association Regional Director Patty Taylor said.
“There’s definitely interest and people are optimistic. But I don’t want to say anything until we see the benefit, clinical benefit, ourselves,” Mahmood said.
While Mahmood is happy for families, he has his doubts about the treatment.
“We don’t know how beneficial it will be in reducing symptoms. The cost of the drug is very high. It’s gonna be about $56,000 per year so this cost is gonna be shouldered by Medicare,” Mahmood said.
While hospice and many with later stages of the disease will not receive the drug, Taylor says the association believes in the science of the drug and hope it will help many patients down the line.
“Our clientele or our constituents won’t benefit from this. It would be their children who will benefit from this drug. It’s making improvements in families and so that’s what’s really been our argument is we wanna give more time to families,” Taylor said.
A historic new drug 10 years in the making that many hope can be another step in fighting Alzheimer’s.
Taylor says the association will be meeting over the next few weeks to see how they will roll out the drug.