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Game-changing Alzheimer’s drug

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Amyloid proteins build up in the brains of Alheimer’s patients
Credit: Pixabay:Geralt


Newly approved in the US, Donanemab is proven to slow down mental decline by up to 60 per cent in patients with the earliest stages of Alzheimer s


The drug made by Eli Lilly will be sold under the brand name Kisunla and works similarly to Lequembi, which received approval from the Food and Drug Administration last year.


Both are intravenous infusions that are designed to attack amyloid,  a protein that builds up in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.  However, unlike Lequembi, patients can stop using Kisunla once the amyloid protein has cleared.


How effective is Donanemab?

The approval came after clinical trials demonstrated that it could clear toxic proteins and slow mental decline by up to 60 per cent over the course of 18 months.  While it is not a cure, it is a significant step in the fight to slow down this debilitating disease.


Dr Suzanne Schindler, a neurologist at Washington University in St Louis, said, “I’m thrilled to have different options to help my patients. It’s been difficult as a dementia specialist – I diagnose my patients with Alzheimer’s, and then every year I see them get worse, and they progress until they die.”


Is Donanemab approved in the UK?

Following this decision, the UK is also considering introducing the two ‘wonder’ drugs. However, it may be some months before the British regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), come to a decision.


Speaking about the US decision, Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Executive Director of Policy and Communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK said, “Today’s decision by the regulators in the US marks another important milestone in the global effort to tackle dementia.”


Alzheimer s is UK s biggest killer

Alzheimer’s is currently the UK’s top killer, with around 900,000 British people being diagnosed as having dementia and Alzheimer’s responsible for two in three cases.


However, it may be some time before these drugs are made available on the NHS, if at all. That decision lies with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and will only be made when and if the MHRA approves the drugs.


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