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MDLinxOnly a Small Percentage of People with Early Dementia Eligible for New Alzheimer’s Drugs

Two monoclonal antibodies, lecanemab and aducanumab, have received FDA approval for treating early Alzheimer’s.

Recent research has revealed that only a small fraction of older adults in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are eligible to receive new monoclonal antibody treatments. These drugs, which target amyloid-ß plaques, have shown promise in slowing the disease’s progression, but the study’s findings indicate that many patients may not meet the criteria for treatment.

Key Points:

  • The study included 237 people aged 50 to 90 with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.
  • For lecanemab, 47% met the inclusion criteria, but only 8% were eligible after exclusions.
  • For aducanumab, 44% met the inclusion criteria, but only 5% were eligible after exclusions.
  • Eligibility criteria were based on thinking and memory tests, BMI, age, and health factors like stroke, cardiovascular disease, and history of cancer.

Additional Points:

  • The study primarily included White participants, highlighting the need for more diverse research.
  • Older Black and Hispanic people have been underrepresented in clinical trials.
  • Modifying exclusion criteria could increase eligibility to 17% for lecanemab.


  • The study emphasizes the need for further research to examine the safety and efficacy of these treatments in larger and more diverse populations, as well as in less healthy populations, to make them more widely available.

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“Our study results show only a small percentage of people with early Alzheimer’s disease may be eligible to receive treatment, mostly due to chronic health conditions and brain scan abnormalities common in older adults.”

Maria Vassilaki, MD, PhD
Mayo Clinic
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