Although there is no medication specifically designed to treat essential tremor, there are several ways to treat the symptoms. It is important for you to discuss all your treatment options with your physician. And although the following material was reviewed by medical professionals, it is not intended to be medical advice. Please discuss your individual health concerns with your treating physician.
No medication is specifically designed to treat ET. However, for approximately 60 percent of patients medications might be of benefit, singularly or in combination, in the treatment of its symptoms. The following information on medications has been reviewed by Rodger Elble, MD, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, and IETF Medical Advisory Board Member.
Surgical Treatments of Essential Tremor
Essential tremor is one of the most common movement disorders, yet only about 60 percent of patients receive satisfactory benefit from the currently available medications. For patients with disabling tremor that is not adequately controlled by propranolol, primidone, or other medications, surgical treatments might be an option. Current surgical options for ET include deep brain stimulation (DBS) and thalamotomy.
Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities. The IETF hopes you find the assistive technologies listed enable you to perform daily tasks that you were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing.
If medications fail, you might consider therapy that involves injecting botulinum toxin into muscles. Botulinum toxin injections have been useful in the treatment of some patients with head and voice tremor and sometimes hand tremor.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved DaTscan™ (Ioflupane I 123 Injection) for use as an imaging agent with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. This agent aids detection of dopamine transporters (DaT) in the brains of adult patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes (PS). This agent may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic evaluations to help differentiate essential tremor from tremor due to PS.
Hypnotherapy (hypnosis sessions conducted by a Certified Hypnotherapist) and Tai Chi (the Chinese practice of slow and gentle movements with deep breathing) help some people with essential tremor lessen stress and improve sleep patterns. Find out more about these practices, as well as alternative medicines such as acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Other Medical Information
Whether you are the primary caregiver for a family member with essential tremor or taking care of yourself, it pays to ask questions of health professionals in a clear and assertive manner. Don’t assume your doctor will let you know all the relevant information regarding your health condition. The best policy is work actively with your health care team.