DAT-SPECT imaging in cases of drug-induced parkinsonism in a specialty movement disorders practice

Jacob Yomtoob, Kimberly Koloms, Danny Bega*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Compare clinical characteristics and outcomes in cases where DAT-SPECT imaging is used to distinguish Parkinson's disease from Drug-Induced Parkinsonsim. Background: Clinical uncertainty in diagnosing Parkinson's disease is common when patients are on dopamine-blocking medications. DAT-SPECT imaging can improve diagnostic certainty but little data are available on clinical characteristics and outcomes associated with normal and abnormal scan results. Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients seen at a movement disorders center between 2011 and 2017 where DAT-SPECT was ordered to distinguish Parkinson's disease from Drug-induced Parkinsonism. Descriptive statistics were calculated for variables of interest and compared by scan result. Chi-squared analyses was carried out for categorical variables and students’ t-tests for continuous values. Results: 51 patients met inclusion criteria with 36 normal scans and 15 abnormal scans. Those with greater than 2 cardinal manifestations (tremor, rigidity, akinesia, postural instability) were more likely to have an abnormal scan (63.89% vs 93.33%, p = 0.04). No other clinical characteristics assessed were associated with scan results. Atypical antipsychotics (aripiprazole 39.21%, olanzapine 31.37%) and mood stabilizers (valproic acid 33.33%, lithium 17.65%) were most commonly associated with suspected Drug-induced Parkinsonism cases. A post-scan change in management occurred in 41.18% of patients. 55.56% of patients with normal scans responded to changes in the offending medication, with 16.66% taking over 3 months to show improvement. Conclusions: Many DAT-SPECT scans at our institution are ordered to distinguish Parkinson's disease from Drug-induced Parkinsonism because clinical characteristics alone are unreliable. DAT-SPECT results lead to changes in management and the outcomes of these changes are consistent with scan results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Drug-induced parkinsonism
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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