It’s been nearly two decades since a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and millions of patients and their families are desperate for new therapies against the incurable brain disease.
More than 6 million Americans are living with the memory loss and other debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s, with millions more expected to suffer from the disease as the population ages. Treatments are elusive: 99% of clinical trials of new Alzheimer’s drugs end in failure
Any drug that proved successful would be a rare scientific breakthrough.
Yet we fear that the celebration among some patient advocates and families over the FDA’s approval of aducanumab — the first new Alzheimer’s drug since 2003 — is false hope.
There are simply too many unanswered questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety, including the threat of potential side effects such as brain swelling or bleeding.
Instead of celebrating, we’re troubled by the FDA’s action.