New Alzheimer's treatment receives mixed reactions from advocates, medical experts
A new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Alzheimer's is receiving mixed reviews from doctors and awareness groups.
On Monday, the FDA approved a new treatment for the disease using its accelerated approval program; it's the first new drug for Alzheimer's in nearly 20 years.
The drug works by removing proteins associated with Alzheimer's from the brain, slowing down the damage.
The treatment underwent two similar drug trials for nine months, half of the time needed for a typical seal of approval from the FDA.
However, early data showing adverse reactions like fluid build-up and bleeding of the brain in some patients is causing concern among health experts.
"People with high blood pressure and diabetes are going to have more chance of having these kinds of effects," Dr. Gladys Maestre, a UTRGV School of Medicine neuroscience professor and director of the school's Alzheimer's Center, said.
Combining the two conditions is causing worry among health professionals who note the lack of racial representation in the trial; Hispanic people made up 3% of the trails population.
According to the website UsAgainstAlzheimer's.org, 14% of Hispanic people 65 and older have Alzheimer's, compared to 10% of white people.
Maestre said UTRGV's Alzheimer's center does not plan on using the drug until the school's new neuroscience center opens later this year, making sure they have all the necessary recourse to make educated recommendations to their patients.
While both advocates and physicians agree the new treatment is a step in the right direction, early detection of the disease is key.