CLEVELAND — The first drug shown to slow down Alzheimer’s disease is now fully approved by the FDA.
John Domeck was a participant in the clinical trial for the drug called Leqembi. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at 57 years old.
“I started noticing I was taking more notes at work and not thinking anything of it rather than being too busy,” he said. “It actually was taking me longer to do things. I did a lot of things by memory, and I wasn’t able to do that too much.”
His doctor at the Cleveland Clinic reached out to him about joining the trial for Leqembi, and he has been taking part in the trial for the last three years. His wife, Ann Domeck, has been by his side every step of the way.
“The drug, I mean it worked,” Ann said. “It’s working for us now. Let me just put it that way. It is not a cure. It won’t give him back what he has lost, but it is keeping him steady, and for Alzheimer’s, that’s a huge win.”
At the beginning of July, the FDA fully approved the drug.
Babak Tousi, the head of the clinical trial program at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic, said this will change the way Alzheimer’s is diagnosed and treated.
“It’s a new treatment,” Tousi said. “It’s a new class of therapy, but more important, we have to know it’s a new concept. We don’t help with the symptoms, we slow down the progression of the disease. So we can’t have people expect to take this medication and feel better, because it’s not treating the symptoms, it’s just hoping to slow down the progression.”
Even though this drug does not cure Alzheimer’s, it slows the progression of the disease by as much as 27% for patients in good health.
John said the treatment has given him something money can’t buy — more quality time with his loved ones.
“Well, I’ve been blessed, and it is a privilege, and I’m glad to be able to do that,” he said. “It’s been, surprisingly for me, a positive experience.”
He will continue taking the drug for at least three more years.