New Alzheimer’s drug benefits a small number of patients

However, physicians have discretion depending on stage of disease

August 23, 2023

IN THE NEWS: Fewer than 20% of patients would be eligible for a new early-stage Alzheimer’s disease drug if the prescribing criteria were similar to that of the clinical trial, researchers say. However, there is some leeway for patients in later stages.

Healthline blue letters on white backgroundUCI Health neurologist Dr. Seyed Ahmad Sajjadi spoke to Healthline about the prescribing criteria for lecanemab, which targets the beta-amyloid plaques that develop in the brains of people with the disease. He was not involved with the research.

While the prescribing information closely matches the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the clinical trial, it is usually “more permissive” when it comes to the patient’s cognitive status. This enables a “discretionary approach, as determined by clinicians, when it comes to exclusion criteria,” he said.

As long as the basic criteria for prescribing it are met, Sajjadi says lecanemab may still benefit people who may not have met the trial’s full criteria.

Sajjadi is also an associate professor of both pathology and neurology at the UCI School of Medicine. He is a clinician scientist who studies neurodegenerative pathologies across the aging spectrum. His research focus includes Alzheimer’s disease, primary progressive aphasia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia in the oldest adults.

He is the recipient of multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health grants and the author of numerous studies that have appeared in prominent medical journals.

To make an appointment with UCI Health Memory Disorder Services, call 714-456-7720.

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