June 7, 2021
On June 7th, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Aducanumab as a medication for Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first medication targeting Alzheimer’s disease approved by the FDA since 2003, so this approval marks a day of celebration for many patients and families.
We at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center are pleased to join in any opportunity to bring additional hope and resources to those living with this terrible disease. Aducanumab differs from other drugs on the market in that it targets the underlying pathophysiology of the disease. While other drugs sought to improve symptoms, Aducanumab targets the presence of amyloid beta proteins in the brain – removing them via an infusion that will be given monthly.
We should note, however, that this approval does not nearly signal the finish line of treating Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. FDA approval is not the same as effectiveness, and it remains unclear whether aducanumab truly slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Additional studies are needed to verify the drug’s clinical benefit. Research on many fronts must continue in order to provide hope and treatments for all those living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
While we look forward to bringing Aducanumab to the appropriate patients soon, there is much work still to be done on our end – with the FDA, insurance companies, and our partners in the University of Michigan Cognitive Disorders Clinic – to determine how we are best able to do so. We thank you for your patience as we work through these logistics, and we will be in touch when we know more about what this might look like.
Have questions about Aducanumab? Read the full statement from the FDA here.
More information for our patients is available below:
Note: Aducanumab is not available at Michigan Medicine. In August 2021, the Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee voted against its use based on a review of the available information.