One of the cruelest of all medical conditions is Alzheimer's Disease (AD.) Most people have at least heard of AD and likely have a family member or friend who suffers from it. This dreadful impairment affects the brain and robs people of their memories. As AD progresses, it leaves its victims ever more debilitated, until they eventually succumb.
A New Wonder Drug? Or A Drug To Wonder About?
It is little wonder, then, that both the medical community and the general public have clamored for effective treatments. At present, there is nothing that works
well. But, a new drug called Aduhelm is sparking an intense discussion. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Aduhelm to treat the symptoms of AD. But, rather than the end of the debate, this was the jumping-off point.
One major concern is whether the FDA acted appropriately in approving Aduhelm. Many agencies are calling for an investigation into how Biogen, the drug's manufacturer, got Aduhelm approved. This includes the acting commissioner of the FDA. There is no evidence yet of bad behavior. But, at $56,000 per year per patient, it is evident that Biogen had a strong motivation to get this drug onto the market.
Most Doctors Not Convinced
Most doctors who treat AD are skeptical. A survey of physicians found that most of them do not think Aduhelm works and they do not plan to prescribe it. Two very prominent health centers, the Cleveland Clinic and Mt. Sinai in New York, will not administer Aduhelm to their patients.
Tiny Memory Improvements And Significant Side Effects
If you are wondering why Aduhelm is controversial, consider this: two trials by Biogen showed a minuscule improvement for some patients and zero improvements for the rest. On the other hand, 40% of the patients in the two studies suffered brain bleeding or brain swelling.
Proceed With Caution
If you or a loved one is contemplating taking Aduhelm, be very careful. The last thing you want to do is make the situation worse than it already is. Brain swelling and brain bleeding are not trivial side effects.
As always, never make a medical decision based on what you read here.