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Debate Continues Over Effectiveness of New Alzheimer's Drug

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FDA

A new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for people with Alzheimer's is giving hope to caregivers. But not all the experts agree.

A panel of independent advisors for the FDA said there’s no proof the new drug, called Aducanumab, reverses the mental decline that comes with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Eric VanVlyman is the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association - Miami Valley Chapter. He says he’s focusing on the potential the new treatment offers.

“If you're sixty five years, 70 years old and you've watched your grandparents who had Alzheimer's, you watch them die with this. You watched your parents struggle through and you have mild cognitive impairment or the early parts of Alzheimer's, if a treatment can work even moderately, it might not be perfect, but if it works moderately, you know, people are usually willing to sign up and get help to see if it will make the difference," he says.

VanVlyman says it’ll take some time for local health systems and physicians’ practices to gain access to the drug, so it won’t be available right away.

"It's not a cure. We're not there. Right. So that's why we were saying that, but we see more future development of treatments coming along, the more we understand this disease."

Even as rollout of the drug takes place, the FDA is requiring the manufacturer, Biogen, to conduct follow-up studies on the drug’s efficacy.