Improving Awareness of Cognitive Decline and Building on Lecanemab’s Success: Sharon Cohen, MD, FRCPC

The behavioral neurologist and medical director of the Toronto Memory Program provided perspective on the steps the general public can take toward reducing the risk of Alzheimer disease and initiating treatment early when needed. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

Over the years, the advancements in drug development, recognition, prevention, and biomarkers have elevated the Alzheimer disease (AD) field to new heights. As the general population continues to age, the research conducted in this space becomes even more critical. Dating back, there had been no approved agents for the disease since 2003; however, in June 2021, the FDA approved aducanumab (Aduhelm; Biogen), an antiamyloid therapy. Amidst the controversy of the decision, it marked the first agent in its class, with potentially several other agents to follow.

Earlier this month, the FDA approved its second antiamyloid therapy for AD, greenlighting Eisai’s lecanemab (Leqembi).1 Despite the approval, there remains questions about access to the medication, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has restricted coverage on these antiamyloid therapies. Sharon Cohen, MD, FRCPC, a trial investigator in lecanemab’s program, believes its wait-and-see at this point, but that Eisai has had constructive conversations with CMS to review lecanemab’s case and hopefully reverse the decision.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Cohen answered non-insurance-related questions about getting therapies like lecanemab to those who need it the most. She detailed the steps needed for improving awareness on being proactive about cognitive decline, as well as how the clinical and patient community can build on the recent approval.

REFERENCES
1. FDA grants acclerated approval for Alzheimer's disease treatment. FDA. News release. January 6, 2023. Accessed January 12, 2023. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-grants-accelerated-approval-alzheimers-disease-treatment
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