Essential Tremor

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about essential tremor.

What are some non-surgical treatment options for essential tremor?

We primarily treat essential tremor with medications. We use propranolol, and primidone, which are the most recommended medications by the American Academy of Neurology for treatment of essential tremor. Unfortunately, there are no medications that are officially approved for the treatment of essential tremor. Primarily, primidone is an old seizure medication, and propranolol is a beta blocker, so they work fairly well, but not 100 percent for the treatment of essential tremor. 

There are other medications that we use for treatment such as topiramate, which is also a seizure medication. We also use gabapentin, and we also use botulinum toxin, which is an injection. This can be used to calm down the muscles so that maybe somebody's head does not shake as prominently, or someone's hand or arm does not shake quite as much. So, there's no one medication that's approved primarily for the treatment of essential tremor, but medications do help. 

We also can use a modality such as occupational therapy for the treatment of essential tremor. This might include using weighted utensils and heavier pens that can make writing easier for patients. We can also use small wrist weights to help dampen the tremor somewhat. There's also something called Liftware, which was developed by an engineer, which helps cancel the tremor out when patients are eating or drinking, or even shaving. So, there are some modalities that are very helpful to patients that we can recommend.

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