An elderly woman with clasped hands

Promising Treatment for Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

The Families and Long-Term Care research team from the School of Public Health has compiled several helpful sources into an FAQ on Lecanemab to help individuals and their loved ones living with dementia.

Early this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided approval for lecanemab (Leqembi) to treat early stage Alzheimer’s disease. On July 6, 2023, lecanemab was granted full traditional approval by the FDA. Lecanemab is a medication developed by Eisai and Biogen that may help slow the progression of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. More recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved Medicare to cover the majority of costs of this therapy.

Many people living with dementia, families, and care professionals have questions regarding this news. The Families and Long-Term Care from the University of Minnesota has compiled several helpful sources into a frequently asked questions document to help provide some answers for a better understanding of what to expect with the FDA approval of lecanemab. 

“It is important for persons living with dementia, their family caregivers, and health care professionals to have the most usable information possible when understanding the potential benefits, risks, and costs of lecanemab/Leqembi. Relying on our network of national experts in dementia and dementia care, the Families and Long-Term Care team created this FAQ,” said Joseph Gaugler, PhD, Robert L. Kane Endowed Chair in Long-Term Care and Aging in the School of Public Health, and co-director of the Minnesota Northstar Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).

Lecanemab or Leqembi is a medication given by intravenous infusion every two weeks. Lecanemab should be used only for people with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia. There is no evidence of benefit for individuals in the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Lecanemab is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it may help to slow the progression of the disease. Eisai and Biogen, the drug developers, found lecanemab slowed cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease by 27%.

The FAQ goes over the safety of lecanemab, eligibility, cost, and more. As new information becomes available, the FAQ document will be updated accordingly. The FAQ has already received positive attention from health professionals around the nation.

The team will also be hosting a free interactive webinar on Nov. 6, “A New Era: Understanding Lecanemab, Donameb, and Emerging Therapies for Alzheimer's Disease” with an interprofessional panel of experts to answer questions about the newly approved and emerging therapies. 

About Families and Long-Term Care 

The mission of The Families and Long-Term Care (LTC) Projects is to build systems and solutions that empower and improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss and their families across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic contexts.

 

 

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