Published Monday Feb 6, 2012

First FDA-approved imaging drug of its kind in the United States

Manchester, NH – Catholic Medical Center announced the availability of DaTscan(tm), the first FDA-approved radiopharmaceutical imaging drug to help physicians evaluate patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes (PS), such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). DaTscan gives physicians additional diagnostic capabilities that may help lead to timely and appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
“We worked closely with GE Healthcare, an expert in medical technologies, to ensure that our facility had the best equipment and training for radioactive DaTscan handling and patient imaging protocols,” said Dr. Mark D. Luedke, a radiologist at CMC.
An accurate diagnosis for patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s, can take up to six years. Parkinson’s currently affects one million people in the US.
“This new imaging drug is a step in the right direction for timely and accurate diagnosis for patients with PS, which includes Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Luedke. The challenge for physicians is how to differentiate PS from other conditions that mimic it, such as essential tremor – a common movement disorder. 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.”
PS 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 from tremors due to PS.
In the United States, 50,000 to 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are 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