Can Emerging Therapies Resolve Unmet Needs With Current Treatment in Early-Stage Alzheimer Disease?
How do investigational drugs for Alzheimer disease differ from those currently prescribed to patients? Dr Burke shares her insights.
Health care professionals who specialize in treating Alzheimer disease, including neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, and neurology nurse practitioners and physician assistants
Consider how emerging agents focused on reducing progression would resolve unmet treatment needs in patients living with early-stage Alzheimer disease
While no current medications for Alzheimer disease (AD) can modify the disease, the agents do slow symptom progression. The earlier the medications are started for patients diagnosed with AD, the greater the potential benefit. Clinical trials are in progress on drugs with a variety of mechanisms that may modulate the disease course: neuronal protection; protein synthesis or aggregation inhibition; immunologic priming with antibodies; vaccines; and secretase inhibition. Early diagnosis, whether in the primary care setting or the specialty setting, continues to be critical to give patients their best chance at managing their illness. Although current treatments cannot give patients back what they have already lost, in the near future, drugs may be able to slow or even halt their cognitive and functional decline if clinicians identify AD early enough in the disease process.
From the Series: Diagnosis of Early-Stage Alzheimer Disease and How Emerging Treatments May Address Unmet Needs
To cite: Burke AD. Can emerging therapies resolve unmet needs with current treatment in early-stage Alzheimer disease? J Clin Psychiatry. 2021;82(3):BG20044WC3C.
To share: https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.BG20044WC3C
© Copyright 2021 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Supported by an educational grant from Biogen.
After completing this educational activity, you should be able to:
- Consider how emerging agents focused on reducing progression would resolve unmet treatment needs in patients living with early-stage Alzheimer disease
Release, Review, and Expiration Dates
This brief report activity was published in May 2021 and is eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ through May 31, 2023. The latest review of this material was April 2021.
Statement of Need and Purpose
Clinicians are not providing a diagnosis to over half of individuals who meet criteria for Alzheimer disease (AD) and other dementias. When they do give a diagnosis, clinicians are often not effectively communicating with patients and care partners regarding the illness and next steps. Additionally, prompt treatment initiation does not occur in a substantial number of patients newly diagnosed with AD. Clinicians need education on early recognition of AD using a stepwise process that includes patient observation, informant report, use of assessment tools, and additional testing when appropriate. They also need guidance for sharing the diagnosis of AD along with education and next steps, including support services. Clinicians need awareness about addressing the shortcomings of current treatments with patients and families. Although current therapies are not disease modifying, emerging agents may offer new hope. This activity was designed to meet the needs of participants in CME activities provided by the CME Institute of Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., who have requested information on Alzheimer disease.
Disclosure of Off-Label Usage
Dr Burke has determined that, to the best of her knowledge, aducanumab*, bapinuzemab, and gantenerumab are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
*Note: On June 7, 2021, after publication of this activity, the FDA approved aducanumab for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer disease.
The faculty members agreed to provide a balanced and evidence-based presentation and discussed the topics and CME objectives during the planning sessions. The faculty’s submitted content was validated by CME Institute staff, and the activity was evaluated for accuracy, use of evidence, and fair balance by the Chair and a peer reviewer who is without conflict of interest.
This activity is derived from the teleconference series “Diagnosis of Early-Stage Alzheimer Disease and How Emerging Treatments May Address Unmet Needs,” which was held in August and October 2020 and supported by an educational grant from Biogen. The opinions expressed herein are those of the faculty and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the CME provider and publisher or the commercial supporter.
Anna D. Burke, MD
Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ
The faculty for this CME activity and the CME Institute staff were asked to complete a statement regarding all relevant personal and financial relationships between themselves or their spouse/partner and any commercial interest. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) defines a commercial interest as any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The ACCME defines relevant financial relationships as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest. The CME Institute has resolved any conflicts of interest that were identified. No member of the CME Institute staff reported any relevant personal financial relationships. Faculty financial disclosure is as follows:
Dr Burke has no personal affiliations or financial relationships with any commercial interest to disclose relative to the activity.
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