DEAR DR. MICHELLE,
How can I get treated with Leqembi?
Ask your doctor if she or he will prescribe it or if they can refer you to someone who will. Some of my colleagues have mentioned that they are in the process of setting up protocols to offer this treatment at their respective institutions. (Leqembi is a monocolonal antibody treatment for Alzheimer’s disease aimed at removing characteristic amyloid plaques.) A clinical test showing a build-up of amyloid is required for prescription. The drug is administered by infusion and patients who are on Leqembi need to be monitored carefully with repeat brain MRIs. Doctors and institutions are figuring out best practices for ensuring these resources. Medicare has announced that it will provide coverage for Leqembi, but not all private insurance companies plan to follow this lead. Details surrounding the prescription, treatment, monitoring, and payment for Leqembi are still being fleshed out as we approach a new era in Alzheimer’s treatment.
DEAR DR. MICHELLE,
What else is out there for people who don’t want or qualify for monoclonal antibody treatments for Alzheimer’s disease?
There are a number of FDA-approved medications for Alzheimer’s disease that may be helpful in treating some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Speak with your doctor to see if any of these are appropriate choices for you. Healthy lifestyle factors will also all contribute to better brain functioning. These include a Mediterranean-style diet, regular exercise, quality sleep, minimizing stress, and maintaining adequate levels of cognitive and social stimulation. Participation in a clinical trial is another option and one that will help us to continue to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The more treatment options we have, the closer we are to a cure. I recommend a layered approach to treatment that includes input from your physician and a team of specialized professionals. Regardless of who and what you choose as part of your strategy, having a plan will help you feel empowered and hopeful, a most important ingredient to any treatment regimen.
*Michelle Papka, Ph.D. is the Founder of The Cognitive and Research Center of New Jersey (The CRCNJ) in Springfield, NJ. The mission of The CRCNJ is to provide no-cost diagnostic, treatment and supportive resources through clinical research opportunities to people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.