FDA Logo We probably don’t know much about drugs out in the market for the treatment or detection of cognitive decline. More recently, a drug called Amyvid has been approved for patients being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This medication is to be used for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging in adults undergoing scans of their brains and being assessed for Alzheimer’s. Basically, it generates PET results that gauge the amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. If the scan shows positive, it could mean that the person in question is suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other cognitive disorder or is very old. On the other hand, a negative outcome signifies less chances of AD being the cause of memory issues.

“Many Americans undergo evaluations to try to determine the cause for a decline in cognitive functioning. Until now, the brain content of β-amyloid neuritic plaques could only be determined with a brain biopsy or examination of the brain at autopsy. This imaging agent is one tool to help physicians in the assessment of their patients by serving as an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations,” commented Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Amyvid is administered into the body intravenously, after which it gets attached to beta-amyloid. Subsequently, a radioactive signal is generated in the PET imaging machine that produces scans of the plaque present in the brain. Importantly, a positive report cannot be regarded as an AD diagnosis, as it also indicated other disabilities or old age in general.

Moreover, this drug is not a test for diagnosis of AD-related dementia and is not supposed to be used for checking patients’ sensitivity to AD therapies. It is not a replacement to any of the diagnostic procedures used for the disease either. This test is to be conducted by health professionals after successful completion of a training schedule designed by the manufacturing company. The medicine label includes guidelines for comprehending PET scans.

Some side-effects seen with Amyvid included nausea, musculoskeletal pain, tiredness and headache. Radiation and scan misinterpretations are included as part of safety risks. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals have manufactured Amyvid.