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Raleigh man with Alzheimer’s disease responds to drug approval

RALEIGH, NC – There is hope for hundreds of thousands of people battling Alzheimer’s disease. For the first time in nearly two decades, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat the disease.

What you need to know

  • The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Aduhelm (aducanumab) on Monday, the first new drug to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease in nearly two decades
  • Jay Reinstein, a Raleigh resident with early-stage Alzheimer’s, says he’s cautiously optimistic about the drug
  • Reinstein says a big factor is the price of the drug and whether it’s covered by insurance

Jay Reinstein is fighting the disease and is cautiously optimistic. The Raleigh resident was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s about three years ago. He describes the diagnosis as a punch in the pit of the stomach and something he never expected. The now 60-year-old says he takes it every day but is still worried about what his future might bring.

These days his phone and notepad are practically attached to his waist. To the average person, it may just seem like someone who uses their time wisely.

“I’ve set my iPhone to get small reminders and alarms when I need to do certain things,” said Reinstein.

He is a former government official with a history of service in Fayetville and Durham, but he wasn’t always that organized.

“For me it’s more reminders and checklists. I always have a pad with me where I go and there are things I have to do because I forget things. Even with finances, I forgot to pay my bills,” said Reinstein.

About three years ago he noticed that he was having trouble remembering things at work.

“They did more tests and I had an MRI, and when it was all said and done, I got the words I never wanted to hear, my wife and I, that kind of belly pounding for early or onset Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s disease, “Reinstein said.

He made the difficult decision to retire early.

“I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it because it’s not easy. There are days when I wake up and it’s kind of a fog. I’m a little confused at times,” Reinstein said.

He has found that being busy helps him distract himself from his diagnosis. Hence, he spends a lot of time raising awareness and advocating for others in a similar situation.

“There are 300,000 or more people and I think there are more who are under 60 with dementia or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and we need to let people know that life is not over,” Reinstein said .

As for the newly approved drug, Reinstein says he’s already spoken to his doctor, who agrees he’s a good candidate. Now the next step is to find out if the insurance covers that because it is quite expensive. He says he’s pretty willing to take the risk if it could slow the progression of his Alzheimer’s disease.

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