DaTscan is a radioactive drug that is injected into your bloodstream to highlight areas of your brain so that images can be taken with a special camera (called a single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT] camera). If you are an adult with a movement difficulty, your doctor may decide to order this imaging test, along with other medical tests, to help decide if your movement difficulties are due to a parkinsonian syndrome or a similar condition such as essential tremor.
Types of parkinsonian syndromes are Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, and progressive supranuclear palsy. DaTscan cannot tell the difference between these parkinsonian syndromes.
DaTscan is available only by prescription and must be ordered by your doctor.
Important Risk and Safety Information About DaTscan
What is the most important information you should know about DaTscan?
- Serious allergic and injection-site reactions could occur following a DaTscan injection. If you have any symptoms of a serious allergic nature, including low blood pressure; trouble breathing; throat tightness; swelling of your face, lips, or tongue; or rash and itching, inform your doctor or go to your nearest emergency room right away
- To help decrease the amount of thyroid accumulation of iodine: Your doctor will give you a medication at least one hour before giving you DaTscan. The purpose of this medication is to minimize the amount of radioactive iodine going into your thyroid gland
- Pregnancy: Clinical studies have not been conducted with DaTscan on pregnant women. Any radioactive drug, including DaTscan, may cause harm to the fetus. If you are pregnant, your doctor will decide if a DaTscan test is appropriate
- If your are a nursing mother, your doctor will decide whether you should interrupt nursing and pump and discard breast milk for six days after DaTscan administration to reduce the risks to your nursing infant
- If you have kidney and/or liver problems: The effects of kidney and /or liver damage from the use of DaTscan are not certain. DaTscan is removed by the kidney, and patients with severe kidney problems may have increased radiation exposure that could change DaTscan images
- Children: DaTscan should not be given to children
The most common side effects of DaTscan:
In clinical studies performed, the most common side effects include headache, nausea, upset stomach, a sensation of motion, dry mouth, or dizziness in less than 1% of patients (1 in 100 patients).
For more information on DaTscan, visit the GE Healthcare DaTscan website.