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Banner doctor says new Alzheimer’s drug is not for every patient

A new drug to treat cognitive decline and help fight the cause of brain deterioration in those with Alzheimer’s is now poised for Food and Drug Administration approval.

It’s called Lecanemab, and it works by attacking sticky plaque buildup in the brain, sort of how cholesterol-fighting drugs work.

But, Dr. Pierre Tariot, director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, said the drug is not for every Alzheimer’s patient.

“If it’s going to be approved I would predict it would be for people with very early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, not for prevention and not for people with more advanced symptoms. It’s likely to be recommended only for people who are pretty medically stable,” he said.

While the drug is promising, its efficiency rate of slowing decline in patients is less than 30%. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story and headline have been updated to correct Dr. Pierre Tariot's affiliation.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.