Alzheimer’s disease, also known as AD, is a type of dementia. Dementia is a general term used to describe memory loss and other intellectual challenges that are serious enough to disrupt daily life.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Eventually, symptoms become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Alzheimer’s facts and figures


What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may the sign of a cognitive disorder
like Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges with planning or solving problems
  • Confusion about time or place
  • Vision problems such as difficulty reading, judging distance, or determining color or contrast
  • Problems writing and/or speaking words
  • Frequent misplacement of things
  • Poor judgment or decision making
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s disease is not the only cause of memory loss and cognitive problems. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell whether a person has the disease, especially in its early stages. As many as 50% of people who fit the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have never received a diagnosis.

Currently, there is no test or exam that can definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in life. The evaluation process involves a variety of tests with the goal of ruling out possible causes of the symptoms you or your loved one may be experiencing. These tests may include mental and physical exams, blood tests, and different types of brain imaging or scanning such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron-emission tomography (PET), and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).

Can Alzheimer’s disease be treated?

Although Alzheimer’s disease cannot be prevented or cured, some treatments are available to temporarily slow down the worsening of symptoms. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms and suspect a cognitive disorder, it is important to speak to a doctor so that a cause can be determined.

This information does not replace having a conversation with your doctor about these symptoms. If you have any questions, please speak to your doctor.

Important Risk and Safety Information About Vizamyl

Vizamyl is a radioactive drug that is injected into your bloodstream to help take an image of your brain. This image is taken using a special camera (called a PET camera). If you are an adult who has been having trouble remembering or thinking clearly, and you are being tested for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), your doctor may decide to do an imaging test using Vizamyl. This test can determine whether there is a protein called beta-amyloid in your brain. Your doctor will use this information, along with other tests, to try to better understand your condition. A Vizamyl test by itself cannot tell if you have or will get a condition like AD, or tell how well any treatment you are on may be working.

You should not take Vizamyl if:
  • You are sensitive to polysorbate 80 or any other ingredients of Vizamyl. Your doctor can help you understand what these compounds are
  • Vizamyl can cause reactions such as flushing or shortness of breath. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have had reactions to other drugs, especially any that contain polysorbate 80
  • Like other radioactive drugs, Vizamyl adds to your lifetime radiation exposure. Long-term radiation exposure is related to increased risk of cancer
The most common side effects of Vizamyl:
  • Flushing, increased blood pressure, headache, nausea, or dizziness has occurred in one out of every 50 patients
What you should know about taking Vizamyl with other medications:
  • Studies have not been conducted to show which, if any, drugs may interfere with the Vizamyl test results. Be sure to tell your doctor what drugs you are taking so that he or she can decide whether you should stop any of them for a period of time before your Vizamyl test
Before taking Vizamyl, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Vizamyl will harm your unborn baby
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Vizamyl passes into your breast milk. Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take Vizamyl

Always talk with your doctor if you have any questions about PET imaging or Vizamyl. Only doctors who have successfully completed the Vizamyl Electronic Reader Training Program should read Vizamyl images.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or or contact GE Healthcare at 1-800-654 0118.

If you have any questions, please speak to your doctor. For additional information, please see the Full Prescribing Information for Vizamyl.

Reference: 1. Boise L, Morgan DL, Kaye J, Camicioli R. Delays in the diagnosis of dementia: Perspectives of family caregivers. Am J Alzheimer’s Dis Other Demen. 1999;14(1):20-26.