UH Brain Health & Memory Center now treating patients with FDA-approved drug for Alzheimer's disease

University Hospitals (UH) Brain Health & Memory Center is now treating patients with LEQEMBI® (lecanemab), a Food and Drug Administration-approved medication for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Those with Alzheimer's disease often have an abnormal buildup of plaques in their brain that contain a protein called beta-amyloid. Lecanemab is an IV medication designed to target and remove these plaques, and has the potential to slow cognitive and functional decline if started in the early stages of the disease. We're happy to be able to offer this breakthrough treatment to our patients at UH."

Charles J. Duffy, MD, PhD, Neurologist and Director of the Brain Health & Memory Center, UH Neurological Institute

Lecanemab is administered every two weeks through IV infusion, with each session lasting about one hour. Infusions occur for one year for a total of 26 treatments. Patients are monitored for a period of time after each infusion to ensure there are no negative reactions to the drug.

"This new drug has shown significant promise in clinical trials and may be a treatment option for patients with mild cognitive impairment and mild dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. While there currently is no cure for Alzheimer's, lecanemab may slow progression of the disease, enhance patients' ability to participate in daily life, and allow them to live independently for a longer period of time," explained Dr. Duffy, who also holds the A. William and Joanne Reynolds Chair in Brain Health at UH and is a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Those with symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease and the confirmed presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain may be eligible for treatment with lecanemab. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's may include: mild cognitive impairment, such as forgetfulness and confusion, and mild dementia, such as difficulty performing familiar tasks. The therapy has not been tested on people with advanced Alzheimer's or those without clinical symptoms.

Although there is no single diagnostic test to confirm Alzheimer's disease, physicians may use a variety of approaches to help them make a diagnosis and determine if treatment with lecanemab might be appropriate. Tests and procedures may include: Comprehensive personal and family medical history; Mental status tests; Physical and neurological exams; Blood tests; Spinal tap to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for testing; MRI of the brain; and PET scan of the brain to look for the presence of beta-amyloid plaques.

Patients approved to receive lecanemab therapy will be carefully monitored at set intervals as determined by their physician. Subsequent brain MRIs and lab tests will be obtained periodically to monitor for side effects of treatment.

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