Alzheimer drug’s approval presents challenges, unknowns

UCI Health expert says despite benefits, lecanemab’s severe side effects, rigorous regimen could be difficult for patients and their families

August 25, 2023

IN THE NEWS:  With the approval of lecanemab comes a mixture of excitement and concerns about its administration.

Neurology Today logo white NT on green backgroundUCI Health psychiatrist Dr. David Sultzer, spoke to Neurology Today about some of the challenges.

“It is not entirely clear how to best counsel patients and balance the risks with the potential benefits. We do see a statistically significant benefit in the phase 3 trials, but how clinically significant that benefit may be for an individual person is hard to pinpoint.

And then we have to balance that against a risk of potentially severe side effects along with the ongoing burden of bimonthly infusions and regular MRI screens. That's quite a lot for an elderly person with cognitive impairment, even mild [disease], and their families to handle.”

He notes that while things are currently complex, things will eventually improve as new therapies are developed.

Sultzer is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the UCI School of Medicine, clinical research director of the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) and lead of the clinical core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

He is recognized for his research into the phenomenology, pathophysiology and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, with a focus on the neuropsychiatric symptoms that occur in the disease or promote risk for it. Sultzer is widely published and is the principal investigator for many ongoing research projects.

To make an appointment, call UCI Health Senior Health Services at 714-456-7007.

Read more