Study: Alzheimer's Drug Slows Cognitive Decline, May Have Serious Side Effects

Photo: Bloomberg News [via The Washington Post]

The Facts

  • According to data presented on Tuesday, an experimental drug aimed at treating Alzheimer's, developed by companies Eisai and Biogen, slowed cognitive decline in a recent trial but may carry the risk of serious side effects.

  • During clinical trials of the drug "lecanemab," two patients died from brain bleeds, and the Japan-based company Eisai says it's unable to rule out the possibility the drug was a contributing factor, although they deny that it directly caused the deaths. Both patients — a 65-year-old woman and a man in his 80s — were also taking blood thinners at the time.

The Spin

Narrative A

This unprecedented and historical moment in the development of Alzheimer's therapies is a big win for the Alzheimer's community — including caregivers and patients alike. The results of the trial will likely lead to the FDA granting marketing approval for the drug and begin the dawn of a new era for the treatment of this horrible disease.

Narrative B

This victory could come at a cost for patients who take the drug, considering the lethality of potential side effects. Before taking this medication, patients have to understand the risks and must consult with their doctors and families to determine if the positives outweigh the negatives.

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