A New Alzheimer’s Drug Offers More Questions Than Answers


A geriatrician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. “This puts us in a bad place,” Karina Bishop agreed. Ethically, he added, “if this drug were available now, I wouldn’t be able to prescribe it.”

Even as individual doctors struggle to advise patients, hospitals and healthcare systems are developing protocols for when Aduhelm will be available, possibly within weeks.

Neurologist who heads the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. “We’re going to be pretty close to the inclusion and exclusion criteria used in the trial,” said Ronald Petersen.

This means that only patients with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease will qualify, after an MRI to rule out certain conditions and risks, and a PET scan or lumbar puncture to confirm the presence of amyloid. Mayo protocols, like clinical trials, will exclude people using blood thinners such as Warfarin or Eliquis.

Dr. “This isn’t like when we go in and say, ‘I’m a little forgetful,’ and ‘Here’s the drug,'” Petersen said. However, as he acknowledges, not every provider will use such assurances.

A geriatrician at the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. Eric Widera expressed a similar concern: “This is the first time it has been done in medicine if doctors were extremely careful and limited this drug to the very specific population included in the study with very careful monitoring.”

He noted another consequence of federal approval: a friction between some doctors and doctors. Alzheimer’s AssociationIt’s the national advocacy group that launched a campaign this spring called More Time. The effort, aimed at demonstrating public support for aducanumab’s approval, included newspaper ads and social media posts.


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