An estimated 5.8 million Americans over the age of 65 are living with dementia due to AD. That number is projected to reach 13.8 million by 2050.1
On a yearly basis, the costs for Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries with AD dementia or other dementias for healthcare services like hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and home healthcare are significantly greater than for people without dementia.
If left unaddressed, total annual payments for healthcare, long-term care, and hospice care for people with AD and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.
Recent analysis suggests that the US has approximately half the number of geriatricians needed and that only a small percentage of nurse practitioners, social workers, and other professionals are skilled in working with older adults.
An Alzheimer's Association survey revealed that primary care physicians (PCPs) feel under-equipped to manage the increasing AD population1:
Current treatments for AD are indicated for patients with AD dementia and are not approved for MCI due to AD. Presently, investigational therapies targeting amyloid beta and tau are being studied for AD.2
AD biomarkers such as amyloid beta and tau may not only be essential for patient diagnosis and selection for potential new treatments, they could also be critical for gauging the effects of treatment.3
Of the ongoing clinical trials of investigational agents targeting the underlying pathophysiology of AD, 52 use amyloid imaging and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to support the diagnosis, 20 determine the outcome via amyloid imaging, and 10 via tau imaging as of 2019.3
Based on assumptions from a simulated model published in 2017, if additional treatments become available in the future, it is anticipated that there may be some health infrastructure challenges that would need to be addressed.4
If a therapy were approved for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD, then potentially millions of patients might become eligible for treatment, requiring comprehensive clinical assessment. Healthcare systems can prepare for this by establishing assessment protocols.1-4
Specialist shortage and long wait times could be a challenge for patients receiving treatment. Physician education and training can be tailored to help meet these needs.1,4,5
Access to biomarker testing, such as positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and CSF tests, could become a limiting factor. Equipping facilities in advance and drafting plans for increased capacity may help prepare healthcare providers to meet the demand. Expanded testing of amyloid beta and tau in CSF administered via lumbar puncture may also help speed the diagnostic process.4,5