May 30, 2021 | STAT

If the FDA approves Biogen’s Alzheimer’s treatment, I won’t prescribe it

From Jason Karlawish in STAT:

Most visits to the memory center where I care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease end in disappointment.

“Are there any new treatments, Dr. Karlawish?” patients or family members hopefully ask.

I shake my head and say, “No.”

I’ve been saying that for the past 18 years.

The few drug treatments I do prescribe are only modestly effective in easing the disease’s cognitive problems. None of them slow its relentless chipping away at individuals’ ability to control their lives or their caregivers’ steady accumulation of commitments of time and task.

So you might think that I’m among those hoping the FDA will approve aducanumab, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug developed by Biogen, a decision the agency is supposed to make by June 7.

But I’m not. And if it gets the green light, I can’t see myself recommending it to my patients. Colleagues of mine in the Alzheimer’s sphere are also reluctant about approving aducanumab. Why? Biogen hasn’t made a convincing case for it.

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