MARYLAND (WDVM) — Hopeful. That is how many people like Karen Sipe feel after the FDA announced it had approved the first Alzheimer’s medication in nearly 20 years.
Sipe’s significant other, Sam Piazza, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers at the age of 59. After receiving his diagnosis, Piazza, who was an attorney, was forced to give up his career and seemingly the life he knew. Though the disease has tried to take over his mind, Piazza continues to stay active, and the news of this medical breakthrough gives him hope.
“This is kind of the miracle that people have been looking for,” said Sipe. “The fact that he can still stay active and that this drug might give him more time to travel and to do those types of things that he enjoys, I am so excited about it. I can now hope that this is the first of many many drugs to come forward for Alzheimer’s patients.”
Aducanumab is being praised by organizations such as the Alzheimers Association because it actually targets the disease and that’s something that has never been done before.
“This drug slows the rate of cognitive decline by approximately 30 percent, which is clinically meaningful results,” said Ana Nelson, Vice President of Programs & Services at the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter. “The drug actually tackles the underlying process of the disease instead of just addressing the symptoms.”
Nearly 6 million in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s. This new drug will slow down the rate of progression it also provides hope as another important step in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
“What that means for that means for us caregivers is that gives us a little it more time with our family member, with our loved one,” said Nelson. “It gives them a little bit more time to participate in daily life. It gives them more time to sustain independence and to hold onto those memories a little bit longer and to us family and caregivers, that is valuable.”
While Aducanumab is not a cure, it is a milestone for medical advancement, and it’s another chance at life for those who are suffering.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers free confidential support and information to people living with dementia, caregivers, families, and the public. The helpline — 800-272-3900 — is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.