Skip to content

    Epilepsy Health Center

    Select An Article

    Drug Treatments for Essential Tremor

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    When essential tremor (ET) significantly interferes with daily activities, long-term drug treatment is needed. Drugs most commonly used to treat essential tremor include beta-blockers (propranolol) and an epilepsy drug called Mysoline (primidone). Topamax (topiramate), another drug used to treat epilepsy and migraine, helps some people.

    With the use of medication, people with essential tremor may see improvement in their ability to control their tremor and improvement in activities such as drinking from a cup or using food utensils. More specialized motor functions, such as being able to thread a needle, may still be too difficult. However, for most people, essential tremor is not disabling.

    Recommended Related to Epilepsy

    Understanding Temporal Lobe Seizure -- Symptoms

    A seizure originating in the temporal lobe of the brain may be preceded by an aura or warning symptom, such as: Abnormal sensations (which may include a rising or "funny" feeling under your breast bone or in the area of your stomach) Hallucinations (including sights, smells, tastes) Vivid deja vu (a sense of familiarity) or recalled memories or emotions A sudden, intense emotion not related to anything happening at the time During the seizure, a person may experience motor disturbances,...

    Read the Understanding Temporal Lobe Seizure -- Symptoms article > >

    Your health care provider will determine which treatment is best for you based on your medical history. The goal of treatment is to help provide maximum improvement in function while minimizing the side effects of the medication you are taking.

    For people with mild essential tremor, drug therapy is usually not necessary. Tremors may be lessened by minimizing exposure to emotional stress and avoiding substances, such as caffeine and nicotine, which may increase tremor. In social situations, a person with mild tremor can take a beta-blocker or drink a small amount of alcohol, if such treatments are approved by a doctor. Although alcohol may lessen the tremor, there is the danger of slowly increasing your intake.

    Beta-Blockers for Essential Tremor

    The beta-blocker Inderal (propranolol) has been used to treat essential tremor for more than 40 years. Other beta-blockers such as Lopressor also may be effective.

    It is not clear how Inderal reduces tremors, but the drug may work by blocking nerve impulses to the muscles. Approximately 50% to 60% of people taking Inderal experience some improvement in function, but total tremor suppression usually is not achieved. The greatest improvement is in hand and voice tremors. The drugs may be taken once a day (for longer-acting formulation) or twice a day, depending upon the formulation used.

    Side Effects of Beta-Blockers

    Beta-blockers are not right for everyone with essential tremor. Side effects of beta-blockers may include:

    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    human head and brain waves
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    Grand mal seizure
    How is each one different?
     
    marijuana plant
    CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
    prescription bottle
    Which medication is right for you?
     
    Seizures Driving
    Article
    Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
    Article
     
    Graces Magic Diet
    Article
    Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
    Article
     
    first aid kit
    Article
    Caring Child Epilepsy
    Article
     
    Making Home Safe
    Article
    epilepsy monitoring
    Article