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"Drug restores speech in patients with Alzheimer's, study"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 21 Jul 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Alzheimer's patients given a popular rheumatoid arthritis drug showed seemingly dramatic improvements in a small study, but some doctors worried that the early findings will raise premature hopes in patients and their families.

The study, reported Sunday in the journal BioMed Central BMC Neurology, involved 12 patients who had greatly improved language recall shortly after treatment with Enbrel, or etanercept, an anti-inflammatory drug co-marketed by Amgen and Wyeth....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This story misses many of the most important elements of a treatment story, failing to quantify any benefits or harms related to the treatment or giving information about the availability of the treatment or any alternatives. Where it scores well is in raising questions around the research, mentioning the strength of the evidence (and the fact it was an open label study), as well as the potential conflicts of interest of the researchers reporting the results.

It would be very useful to address the serious but rare adverse effects related to these biologic drugs. These are not benign treatments and while Alzheimer's disease can be serious, so too can the adverse effects related to these powerful immunosuppressant drugs, which include risk of serious infections. On May 2, 2008, the US FDA placed a black box warning on etanercept due to a number of serious infections associated with the drug.

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