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US authorities give go-ahead for Alzheimer's drug

The life sciences group, Novartis, has announced from its headquarters in Basel a "breakthrough" for sufferers of Alzheimer's disease in the United States.

The life sciences group, Novartis, has announced from its headquarters in Basel a "breakthrough" for sufferers of Alzheimer's disease in the United States.

It has been given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration to market its Exelon drug used in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease - the most common cause of premature senility - affects more than ten million people worldwide and four million in the US alone.

The drug is already marketed in more than 65 countries, including the member states of the European Union.

"The FDA's approval of Exelon is an important milestone for Novartis and for the very many Alzheimer's patients and their families in the US," said Jerry Karabelas, head of Novartis healthcare operations and chief executive of Novartis Pharma.

"Early diagnosis and treatment with Exelon can play a major role in helping patients and caregivers to delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease, or improve the key symptoms, namely activities of daily living, behaviour and cognition," he added.

The US approval is based on data from more than 3,900 patients worldwide, the largest phase-III clinical programme ever conducted with a medication for dementia of the Alzheimer's disease type.

by Robert Brookes



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