Local Alzheimer’s Association CEO discusses new drug approved for the disease

For nearly 20 years the Alzheimer's community has seen no medication progress until now.

MINNESOTA & NORTH DAKOTA (KVRR) — The FDA has given the go-ahead for a new Alzheimer’s drug.

“We’re slowing down the progression of the disease or this drug will do that. That’s exciting because it will give people more time and a better quality of time while they’re with their families,” Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota CEO & Director Susan Parriott said.

For nearly 20 years the Alzheimer’s community has seen no medication progress until now. Biogen’s aducanumab also known as Aduhelm, got the green light from the FDA on Monday.

“There are more than six million people in the United States that are impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and that number continues to grow each year,” Parriott said.

CEO and Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Susan Parriott says at age 65 it’s one in nine people who have Alzheimer’s Disease.

“There are about 100,000 people between our two states that are impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease,” Parriott said.

Alzheimer’s Association Regional Care Consultant, Maggie Ness says this drug is not for everyone.

“This medication really gears toward those who are in their early stages of Alzheimer’s or with mild cognitive impairment,” Ness said.

Biogen is projecting the drug will cost $56,000 a year. Parriot says the focus will be how to make it accessible for North Dakotans and Minnesotans.

“We are thinking about how those people in the rural communities will be able to access this drug, so they have the same availability. That same hope that everyone else in the metropolitan area might have,” Parriott said.

She says people with Alzheimer’s react to the symptoms differently.

“One person’s journey is one person’s journey because no journey is the same,” Parriott said.

The best thing to do if you’re unsure is to speak with your doctor.

“[It] will not be right for everybody, but there are people that it will be right for and it can improve their lives, so I think making that decision with your doctor and your family is really important,” Parriott said.

If you have questions or concerns about Alzheimer’s you can call the association’s helpline at 1-800-272-3900. 

Categories: Health