US approves Alzheimer’s drug that modestly slows disease

Alzheimers drug leqembi
This Dec. 21, 2022 image provided by Eisai in January 2023, shows vials and packaging for their medication Leqembi. (Eisai via AP)

By MATTHEW PERRONE
AP Health Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. health officials have approved a new Alzheimer’s drug that modestly slows the brain-robbing disease.

The Food and Drug Administration granted the approval Friday for Leqembi for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but didn’t rule out broader use.

It’s the first drug that’s been convincingly shown to slow the decline in memory and thinking that define the disease. But the medication comes with downsides, including potentially serious side effects and the need for frequent drug infusions.

Alzheimer’s patients and their doctors will have to decide whether those issues are worth the drug’s benefit, which likely amounts to slowing the disease by several months.

Insurers are expected to only cover the drug for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Categories: Health