DaTscan available for Parkinson's evaluation

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GE Healthcare has shared that DaTscan is available in more than 80 hospitals to help physicians evaluate patients with suspected parkinsonian syndromes (PS), such as Parkinson’s disease (PD).

DaTscan (Ioflupane I 123 Injection) is an FDA-approved radiopharmaceutical adjunct imaging agent to help physicians evaluate patients with suspected PS, according to the Waukesha, Wis.-based company. The agent may enable appropriate management for adult patients who have signs or symptoms of PS, by aiding with diagnosis.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 25 percent of neurodegenerative movement disorders are misdiagnosed. Movement disorders are primarily diagnosed through clinical examination. Clinical exams alone, particularly early in the disease, are often inconclusive and can result in misdiagnosis. Movement disorders often have similar symptoms and the treatments can vary significantly. Inappropriate treatment can adversely affect patients’ quality of life.

In the U.S. alone, 50,000 to 60,000 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year, but an accurate diagnosis can take up to six years. Many people mistakenly attribute the first symptoms of PS, such as PD, to the normal aging process, and many have misconceptions about diagnosis.

DaTscan is an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations to help differentiate essential tremor from tremors due to PS. The effectiveness of DaTscan as a screening or confirmatory test and for monitoring disease progression or response to therapy has not been established and DaTscan was not designed to differentiate between different forms of PS.

However, DaTscan is an additional diagnostic imaging tool that may help expedite an accurate diagnosis, which could improve disease management and ensure the use of appropriate medications, GE stated.

The imaging agent is a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule II controlled substance. Hospitals and nuclear imaging centers that administer DaTscan must have infrastructure dedicated to quality control, handling and dispensing of DEA Schedule II, radioactive drugs used for diagnosis and treatment.