“The drug carries a warning about temporary brain swelling that can sometimes cause headaches, confusion and dizziness. Other side effects included allergic reactions, diarrhea and disorientation.”
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by Matthew Perrone
WASHINGTON (AP) — “Government health officials on Monday approved the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years, disregarding warnings from independent advisers that the much-debated treatment hasn’t been shown to help slow the brain-destroying disease.
“The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug from Biogen based on study results showing it seemed ‘reasonably likely’ to benefit Alzheimer’s patients. It’s the only therapy that U.S. regulators have said can likely treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnia.
“The decision, which could impact millions of Americans and their families, is certain to spark disagreements among physicians, medical researchers and patient groups. It also has far-reaching implications for the standards used to evaluate experimental therapies, including those that show only incremental benefits.
“The new drug, which Biogen developed with Japan’s Eisai Co., did not reverse mental decline, only slowing it in one study. The medication, aducanumab, will be marketed as Aduhelm and is to be given as an infusion every four weeks.
“Dr. Caleb Alexander, an FDA adviser who recommended against the drug’s approval, said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the decision.
“”The FDA gets the respect that it does because it has regulatory standards that are based on firm evidence. In this case, I think they gave the product a pass,’ said Alexander, a medical researcher at Johns Hopkins University.”