Eli Lilly’s imaging agent Amyvid, which helps diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, received European approval Wednesday.
Lilly plans to make Amyvid available in parts of the European Union after giving imaging centers time to prepare to receive orders.
The radioactive imaging agent binds to beta-amyloid plaques and causes them to show up on positron emission tomography, or PET, scans of a patient’s brain. The presence of these plaques may help indicate that a patient with cognitive problems has Alzheimer’s disease, although such a scan does not definitively show that.
Although Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, Lilly said that other neurological disorders, brain tumors and infections like HIV may cause the presence of plaque. It also can be found in older people with normal cognitive function.
Amyvid is one tool intended to help find the cause of a patient’s cognitive decline, and it should be used with a clinical exam. Doctors currently diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by observing patients and administering physical and mental tests. The disease could be diagnosed sooner if they could detect the presence of amyloid plaques earlier.
U.S. regulators approved Amyvid last spring.