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Alzheimer's drug from Eli Lilly wins backing of FDA committee

The company's experimental drug was shown in a clinical trial to slow cognitive decline by 35 percent in early disease stages

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration on Monday endorsed an Alzheimer's drug made by Eli Lilly, setting the stage for the agency to approve another medication that has shown it can slow the progression of the disease.

The medication doesn't cure or halt Alzheimer's disease, but it was shown in a clinical trial to slow the cognitive and functional decline in people in early stages of the disease by 35 percent over 18 months.

Much of the committee's discussion focused on the safety of the drug, donanemab, which works by clearing a sticky plaque from the brain, amyloid beta, that is associated with the memory-robbing disease. In a clinical trial, three patients who received the drug died of a condition called ARIA that can cause the brain to bleed or swell, while there were no such deaths in a placebo group. There were also more deaths in the group that received the drug than in the placebo arm.


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