Lecanemab (Leqembi®) is approved in the United States for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to be initiated in early AD (mild cognitive impairment [MCI] due to AD or mild AD dementia) with confirmed brain amyloid pathology. Appropriate Use Recommendations (AURs) are intended to help guide the introduction of new therapies into real-world clinical practice. Community dwelling patients with AD differ from those participating in clinical trials. Administration of lecanemab at clinical trial sites by individuals experienced with monoclonal antibody therapy also differs from the community clinic-based administration of lecanemab. These AURs use clinical trial data as well as research and care information regarding AD to help clinicians administer lecanemab with optimal safety and opportunity for effectiveness. Safety and efficacy of lecanemab are known only for patients like those participating in the phase 2 and phase 3 lecanemab trials, and these AURs adhere closely to the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trials. Adverse events may occur with lecanemab including amyloid related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) and infusion reactions. Monitoring guidelines for these events are detailed in this AUR. Most ARIA with lecanemab is asymptomatic, but a few cases are serious or, very rarely, fatal. Microhemorrhages and rare macrohemorrhages may occur in patients receiving lecanemab. Anticoagulation increases the risk of hemorrhage, and the AUR recommends that patients requiring anticoagulants not receive lecanemab until more data regarding this interaction are available. Patients who are apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) gene carriers, especially APOE4 homozygotes, are at higher risk for ARIA, and the AUR recommends APOE genotyping to better inform risk discussions with patients who are lecanemab candidates. Clinician and institutional preparedness are mandatory for use of lecanemab, and protocols for management of serious events should be developed and implemented. Communication between clinicians and therapy candidates or those on therapy is a key element of good clinical practice for the use of lecanemab. Patients and their care partners must understand the potential benefits, the potential harms, and the monitoring requirements for treatment with this agent. Culture-specific communication and building of trust between clinicians and patients are the foundation for successful use of lecanemab.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Food and Drug Administration; accelerated approval; aducanumab; amyloid imaging; amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA); donanemab; lecanemab; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); prescribing information.