Reagan's Daughter Has a Fear About Alzheimer's Drug

What if Aduhelm keeps people in an awful state of limbo, asks Patti Davis
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2021 12:49 PM CDT
Reagan's Daughter Worries About Alzheimer's Drug
File photo of Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald Reagan.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Ronald Reagan's daughter is raising a concern about Aduhelm, the first new drug approved to treat Alzheimer's in nearly 20 years. In an essay at USA Today, Patti Davis recalls the "heartbreaking" early stages of her father's disease. He would struggle to come up with a word or to keep his train of thought, and he was aware at this point of his own deteriorating condition. Aduhelm is meant for patients in the early stages of the disease, and advocates say it can prolong a sense of normalcy for these people. But remembering her own father's struggles, Davis raises a question.

"What if we are stalling people at the most painful stages of dementia, the stages when fear courses through them and they are grieving over the loss of who they once were?" she writes. Davis stresses that she's not trying to tell anyone how to manage the disease, and that each family must decide for itself. But the question deserves consideration, she adds. "Is this moment in time where you want your loved one to linger?" (Families also might get sticker shock when they see the price.)

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