Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai said on Monday that the country’s Ministry of Health has approved the use of the drug “Likembe” to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which Eisai developed with the US-based Biogen company.
This comes after a committee affiliated with the Ministry of Health recommended approval of the drug in August, following its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in July.
This drug is the first treatment proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages.
However, US regulators ordered a warning to be placed on the drug indicating the risk of serious brain swelling, like other Alzheimer’s drugs in the same class.
An Eisai CEO said in August that the company expects to begin marketing Lekembe in Japan within about 60 days of receiving regulatory approval.
What you should know about the new medicine
The drug is called Leqembi, also known as Lecanimab. As its active ingredient, Lekimbe is given to patients intravenously once every two weeks. Preliminary data from trials on Likembe were published in September, and showed that the drug slowed cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients by 27%, over a period of 18 months. The drug was developed by the Japanese company “Eisai” and the American “Biogen”.
How it works?
Likembe focuses on a protein in the brain, beta-amyloid, which is thought to be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaques form around the nerve cells of Alzheimer’s patients, destroying them in the long term, causing memory loss. Other medications until now have only targeted symptoms of progressive disease.
Liquimbe is approved for people with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug is given intravenously every two weeks, and experts recommend that patients undergo periodic brain examinations to monitor any side effects.
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