Over 20 years experience of training in the care sector

Call us on

0345 644 2866

Breakthrough Dementia Drug

Breakthrough Dementia Drug


There was a significant breakthrough in drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last year. In clinical trials, Lecanemab, a type of drug known as a monoclonal antibody, was shown to slow the rate of decline in memory and cognition in people at an early stage of the disease.

Lecanemab is very different from existing Alzheimer’s drugs, such as Donepezil (Aricept) and Memantine (Ebixa or Axura).

These drugs can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for some people, but, unlike Lecanemab, they don’t target the underlying disease. The new drug is designed to clear clumps of a protein called amyloid that form in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and cause brain cells to deteriorate and die. Brain scans revealed a sharp reduction of amyloid in the brains of people taking Lecanemab in the trial.

Side effects

Lecanemab is not a wonder drug. Not everyone in the trial experienced an improvement in symptoms and although there were clear benefits for those who did, these were relatively modest – disease progression was only slowed by 27% over 18 months, compared to a group of trial participants who took a placebo. The drug also caused some harmful side effects, including brain bleeds, brain swelling and adverse reactions to infusion (the drug is administered intravenously). 7% of people given the drug had to stop taking it because of side effects. However, whatever its limitations, the drug does offer new hope to scientists working in the field of Alzheimer’s treatments. It should lead to new pathways in research and hopefully more effective treatments.

Lecanemab was licensed for use in the USA on 6 January this year, meaning that doctors there can now prescribe it for suitable patients. It is likely to be some time before the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) makes a decision about whether or not it will be approved in the UK.

– Article by Kim Rutter

Kim Rutter is a Social Care Consultant who has worked as communications manager with the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) for close to two decades. Her articles offer a unique insight on developments within the Care Sector.

Get In Touch
CareTutor has a range of over 60 video-based social care courses including two Dementia Care courses .

Talk to our team on 0345 644 2866
Email us on: info@caretutor.org