March 28, 2012
First FDA-approved imaging agent of its kind in the United States
assists physicians in differentiating Parkinsonian syndromes from other tremors
Southampton Hospital has announced the availability of DaTscan™ (Ioflupane I 123 Injection), the first FDA-approved radiopharmaceutical adjunct imaging agent to help physicians evaluate patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes such as Parkinson’s disease. DaTscan gives physicians additional diagnostic capability that may help lead to timely and appropriate diagnosis and treatment. In making the announcement, Hospital President and CEO Robert S. Chaloner notes, “It is very unusual for a community hospital to be able to offer this specialized diagnostic procedure. Southampton Hospital joins only 166 other hospitals nationwide, most of them large medical centers.”
Southampton Hospital is equipped with an infrastructure dedicated to quality control, handling and dispensing of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule II, radioactive drugs, such as DaTscan. “We worked closely with GE Healthcare to ensure that our facility received DEA-controlled substance registration, correct imaging equipment set-up, and training of personnel for radioactive DaTscan handling and patient imaging protocols,” said Margaret Whelan, MD, radiologist in the Hospital’s Radiology Department.
Movement disorders are primarily diagnosed through clinical examinations. Clinical exams alone, particularly early in the disease, are often inconclusive. An accurate diagnosis for patients with neurodegenerative movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease can take up to six years.
“This new imaging agent is a step in the right direction for timely and accurate diagnosis,” said William R. Brancaccio, MD, Chair, Southampton Hospital’s Department of Radiology. “The challenge for physicians is how to differentiate Parkinsonian syndromes from other conditions that mimic it, such as essential tremor. While the symptoms are similar, treatment and management greatly differ. Having another diagnostic tool to help rule out one of these conditions will be tremendously helpful in reaching an appropriate and timely diagnosis for patients.”
Parkinsonian syndrome occurs when the brain does not get enough dopamine to perform certain functions. This affects the ability of the brain to control movement and other muscle functions. DaTscan is an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations that help differentiate essential tremor—a common movement disorder—from tremors due to Parkinsonian syndrome.
Parkinson’s Disease, currently affects one million people in the US, with 50,000 to 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It is estimated that as many as 10 million people around the world suffer from the condition. A timely and correct diagnosis will help patients and their families overcome the fears and frustrations associated with the process of getting an accurate diagnosis so they can move on with their lives. Patients and caregivers should discuss their symptoms with their primary care physician to determine the best way forward. To learn more about DaTscan, visit www.datscan.com.