New drug to treat Alzheimer’s to be available in Savannah soon

Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 5:15 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The FDA approved a new drug to help reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

But there are a lot more things to consider when purchasing the medicine that some might not realize.

Internal Medicine Specialist at Memorial Health say lecanemab, which will be sold under the name Leqembi should be available in about a month in our area. The drug has sparked concern about its side effects and cost.

But Dr. Maulik Patel feels the FDA’s approval is still a step in the right direction.

Dr. Patel says the drug is for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s administered through an infusion and removes a protein in your brain that is proven to play a big role in Dementia symptoms.

The drug is supposed to delay the down slope of Alzheimer’s from five to 10 years, possibly even beyond 10 years, according to Patel.

There were some side effects found in the clinical trial. Dr. Patel says there’s a possibility that it could cause leaky blood vessels in the brain that produce similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s like fatigue and confusion.

Despite some concerns, Dr. Patel feels this development will help generate more medicine to tackle this disease.

“It gives everyone a good boost in morale to say ‘yeah we need to continue on this journey.’ I think the drug, as I said in the beginning, has to be heavily weighed for each patient. It’s not meant for everyone with Dementia. It’s not meant for everyone with X,Y,Z symptoms. You have to sit down, look at where you are, what type of Dementia it is,” said Dr. Patel.

Leqembi is expected to cost more than $26,000 a year. Because it is FDA approved, Medicare will cover a portion of the cost.