Health Check Podcast: Dissecting the Controversy Over US Approved Drug for Alzheimer’s Disease, Health News and Featured Articles

Health Check Ep 62: Dissection of the controversy surrounding a drug approved in the United States for Alzheimer’s disease

19:27 minutes

Synopsis: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, The Straits Times helps you understand the health issues that matter to you.

There is a new drug in the United States that offers hope for patients facing the daunting prospect of not being able to remember loved ones as their disease progresses. However, many experts are against the approval of this new drug for Alzheimer’s disease.

In this episode, ST’s Senior Health Correspondent Joyce Teo greets Associate Professor Nagaendran Kandiah, Senior Consultant and Director of the National Neuroscience Institute’s Dementia Program, about the controversial drug known as Aducanumab.

Developed by US drug maker Biogen, Aducanumab is the first treatment for Alzheimer’s disease to be approved in almost 20 years and will be sold under the Aduhelm brand (it is currently not a registered product in Singapore).

It was approved even though the United States Food and Drug Administration’s independent panel of experts voted overwhelmingly against it. They said there is weak evidence that the drug can slow the decline of mental connectivity in patients. Three FDA advisers resigned following this decision.

There is also the other group of people who are excited about having a drug that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Current treatments only target symptoms of the disease.

The new drug Aducanumab works by eliminating a protein that builds up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This protein is called amyloid. In theory, cleaning the brain of amyloid plaques may slow disease progression, but the clinical benefits are unclear.

1. The controversy surrounding Aducanumab, the new drug for Alzheimer’s disease and the results of the trials (1:47)

2. Why was aducanumab approved despite inconclusive results (5h00)

3. Possible side effects of Aducanumab and identification of patient eligibility for the new drug (11:48)

4. Signs and symptoms of MCI or memory loss problems to watch out for (13:34)

5. Proactive approach to reduce the risk of memory loss (16:20)

Produced by: Joyce Teo ([email protected]) and Fa’izah Sani

Edited by: Penelope Lee and Fa’izah Sani

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