In this episode, Ayesha discusses a set of recommendations for use of the new FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm (aducanumab) published by an expert panel, which was shared at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021 this week. Ayesha and the team talked about the controversial approval of the drug, with lingering questions about its clinical benefit despite its ability to reduce amyloid plaques as an anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody. It appears that clinicians and scientists in the field have embraced the treatment for the most part, and are working towards developing guidelines and an infrastructure for the drug’s use in health systems with the goal of helping patients that could most benefit from the treatment.
The team also talked about Pfizer’s expanded recall of its smoking cessation drug Chantix, which now involves 12 lots. The recall is over higher than acceptable levels of a potentially carcinogenic nitrosamine found in batches of Chantix tablets produced between 2019 and 2021. Long-term exposure to high amounts of nitrosamines has been linked to cancer-causing effects. However, Pfizer and the FDA maintain that the benefit of the medication outweighs the risks and that patients should continue using the drug, which is intended for short-term use. The team talked about the growing problem of the presence of impurities during drug manufacturing, which has led to similar recalls for other drugs recently. Pharmacists and care providers should be more informed about drug recalls to help patients navigate them.
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