A new drug could have a major impact on Alzheimer's patients going forward, according to the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan.

Results released earlier this week show that the drug donanemab can slow cognitive decline by roughly one-third, something Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan CEO Joanne Bracken says could be significant.

"I think this is a really exciting development," said Bracken. "After 20 years of no Alzheimer's drugs making it to a Phase 3 clinical trial, this drug has made it that far. And very very exciting that there are positive results."

"Previous drugs treated symptoms, but this drug is showing in the clinical trial that after a year there was no clinical progression, which is huge when you think about Alzheimer's Disease being a disease where people gradually deteriorate. So I think this is very exciting news for people living with dementia."

Bracken said the drug could allow those with Alzheimer's to perform daily tasks for an extended period.

"If you can continue to be able to do your banking for another year, to be able to do meal preparation, to be able to read and make decisions...that's huge in the life for someone who has dementia," she said.

Bracken said there are currently about 20,000 people living in Saskatchewan who have dementia, and that number is expected to go up in the next 30 years according to a recent study.

"It is a disease that is growing and so anything that can help slow the progression of the disease would have a big impact on the quality of life for people who are living with the disease," she said.

Bracken added that there are a few side effects with the drug and that it will take some time to be fully incorporated into the medical system. It will be administered through an IV.

Finally, Bracken touched on the impact the drug could have on families and caregivers.

"On average, people who are a care partner of somebody with dementia are spending 26 hours of caregiving a week," she said. "And so if the person's skills stay intact longer it's also going to reduce the amount of time that caregivers have to spend. And so it'll increase the quality of life for the person living with dementia, and also for their care partners."

"And then potentially as well too, fewer costs to the healthcare system because the person is able to stay at home more and live life at home with community supports."