Wednesday, USpharmaceutical behemoth Eli Lilly announced that its experimental Alzheimer’s drug significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline, results hailed by experts as “remarkable” even though some patients experienced severe side effects.
Donanemab decreased disease development by 35% over 18 months in approximately 1,200 early-stage patients.
Using a standardized index known as the Integrated Alzheimer’s Disease Rating Scale (iADRS), cognition and the ability to perform daily tasks such as managing finances, commuting, engaging in hobbies, and conversing about current events were used to determine this.
Parts of the brain swelled temporarily in nearly a quarter of the treated patients. And microhemorrhages occurred in 31% of patients on the treatment arm and 14% of patients in the placebo group.
Side effects killed two people, and the treatment may have killed a third.
Independent experts praised the data nonetheless, stating that, if approved, donanemab could considerably improve the lives of people suffering from the most common form of dementia.
The news follows the January US approval of another Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab by Biogen and Eisai. Which delayed the rate of cognitive decline by 27% and was also deemed a blockbuster by experts.
Biogen and Eisai had also developed aducanumab, marketed under the name Aduhelm. Which received US approval in 2021 despite controversy and a damning report from Congress.