Alzeimer’s disease is an irreversible progressive brain disease that leads to dementia and other symptoms which gradually worsen over time.1 Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in mental ability such as memory, reasoning and cognitive skills.2 Alzhiemer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, amounting to 60 to 70% of dementia cases.2
Alzheimer’s disease happens when abnormal proteins called “Beta-Amyloid Plaques” and “Tau Tangles” deposit in the brain. This causes brain damage and brain shrinkage, ultimately destroying brain cells, leading to dementia and the inability to carry out daily activities.2
Currently there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease despite much research done and are still ongoing in hopes of finding a cure one day. But all the efforts did not go to waste as two molecules were discovered to have shown to slow down the disease progression when taken at its early stage.4
Aducanumab was the first FDA approved treatment for the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease in 2021, followed by Lecanemab which was just recently approved by FDA in 2022.4 It has not been tested on people with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or those without clinical symptoms.5
Both medicines work differently and at different stages of the Beta-Amyloid Plaque formation, one of the hallmarks of the disease. By slowing its progression, it can improve patients’ quality of life and live independently. That being said, these medicines have not been shown to restore lost memories or reverse the damages done by the disease.6,7,8
Unfortunately both Aducanumab and Lecanemab are not available in Malaysia yet because they are still in their early stage of FDA approval, therefore nationwide distribution and medical implementation will take some time. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, do check out the article on “Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need To Know”.9 This article has a brief summary on available treatments to manage Alzheimer’s symptoms and what you as a caregiver can do for your loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease.