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Drug Treatments for Essential Tremor

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Side Effects of Beta-Blockers continued...

Some of these side effects may require that the treatment be stopped.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Have asthma or other bronchial conditions (beta-blockers may cause or worsen asthma symptoms)
  • Have coronary artery disease or certain heart arrhythmias
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have liver disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Are pregnant or nursing

While you are taking Inderal, your health care provider will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. In general, Inderal works over a long period of time to suppress tremors; however, nearly 10% of people will develop tolerance to the drug after a year. This means that the drug stops being effective when given in the same dose as when you began treatment. In this case your doctor will suggest another medication or treatment.

Mysoline for Essential Tremor

Mysoline (primidone) is an anti-seizure drug that is also effective for treating essential tremor. It is most useful for people with hand tremor. Although it is not clear how it works, Mysoline appears to be as effective as Inderal, with significant suppression of tremor in most patients. However, as with Inderal, a percentage of people may develop tolerance to the treatment after about a year.

In most cases, Mysoline is given to people who do not tolerate Inderal. Mysoline also can be given in addition to Inderal to improve symptoms.

Side Effects of Mysoline

Mysoline may cause unwanted side effects in the short term (within the first few days of starting treatment); however, these side effects diminish with longer use. Side effects of Mysoline may include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

Serious complications with the drug are rare but could include blood cell and bone marrow problems. Your health care provider will check your blood counts every six to 12 months to screen for these problems. Mysoline has a drug interaction with phenobarbital, so the drugs should not be taken together.

Before taking Mysoline, be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Are taking any medications (Mysoline may interact with several different types of drugs.)
  • Have kidney or liver problems

In addition, you should avoid alcoholic beverages while taking Mysoline. Do not stop taking the drug suddenly or switch brands without first consulting with your health care provider.

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