Beta-blockers are effective treatment for essential tremor
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 4:46 AM
Dear Doctor K: I've been diagnosed with essential tremor. Can this condition improve, or will it only get worse?
Dear Reader: This condition definitely can improve with treatment. I assume you have shaking movements of your hands, limbs, head or voice that you can't control.
Essential tremor is a permanent condition. Without treatment, the degree of tremor typically worsens with age. It also can expand from one part of the body to others over time.
The neurological condition that most of my patients worry about when they develop essential tremor is Parkinson's disease. But Parkinson's is a serious disease that affects a person's ability to move. The tremors of Parkinson's disease are more noticeable at rest. In contrast, essential tremor is most noticeable when your body is in action. Most important, having essential tremor does not mean that you will get Parkinson's disease - there's no connection.
Essential tremor often begins in the dominant hand. You may have trouble with writing, typing or pouring a beverage. Essential tremor also can affect your head and cause your speech to tremble.
Beta-blockers, particularly propranolol (Inderal), are the most effective treatments for essential tremor. Beta-blockers usually improve the tremor so that it does not interfere with normal activities. In some people, the tremor disappears completely.
Other drugs that may help include:
Stress, caffeine and certain medicines may make the tremor worse. Ask your doctor if you are taking any medications that could be worsening your tremor.
- The anti-seizure drug primidone (Myidone, Mysoline).
- The anti-anxiety medicine lorazepam (Ativan).
- Gabapentin (Neurontin), a drug used to treat chronic pain.
- For severe tremors that don't respond to other therapies, doctors may use injections of botulinum toxin (Botox).
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106