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Maine doctor responds to new FDA-approved drug to slow Alzheimer’s

Drug is first approved drug for Alzheimer’s in 20 years
In this Dec. 12, 2019 photo provided by Biogen, a scientist works on Alzheimer���s disease...
In this Dec. 12, 2019 photo provided by Biogen, a scientist works on Alzheimer���s disease research in a laboratory at the drugmaker���s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. On Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, a panel of outside experts will meet to advise the Food and Drug Administration on the drug, called aducanumab from Biogen Inc. and Japan���s Eisai Co. The drug does not cure or reverse Alzheimer���s; the claim is that it modestly slows the rate of decline. (David A. White/Biogen via AP)(David A White | AP)
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:46 PM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug Monday aimed at slowing the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

This is the first drug approved to treat Alzheimer’s in 20 years. However, independent advisers say the drug does nothing to stop the disease that destroys the brain.

The drug from Biogen is called Aducanumab and will be sold under the brand name Aduhelm. It clears a protein called beta-amyloid from the brain. It is administered through an infusion and costs $56,000 for a year’s worth of treatment. Insurance and other discounts is expected to cover that cost.

Federal regulators said Aduhelm can likely treat the disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. But one expert in Maine is encouraging a “wait and see” approach.

“Is something better than nothing? That’s a philosophic question,” said board certified psychiatrist Dr. Jeffery Barkin. “I have a mother who has a severe memory disorder. I would love for there to be a treatment. Would I recommend that my mom take this medication now? No I wouldn’t.”

More than 6 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

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