Appendix H: Practice Parameter: Therapies for essential tremor: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology

T. A. Zesiewicz, R. Elble, E. D. Louis, R. A. Hauser, K. L. Sullivan, R. B. Dewey, W. G. Ondo, G. S. Gronseth, W. J. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common tremor disorders in adults and is characterized by kinetic and postural tremor. To develop this practice parameter, the authors reviewed available evidence regarding initiation of pharmacologic and surgical therapies, duration of their effect, their relative benefits and risks, and the strength of evidence supporting their use. Methods: A literature review using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index, and CINAHL was performed to identify clinical trials in patients with ET published between 1966 and August 2004. Articles were classified according to a four-tiered level of evidence scheme and recommendations were based on the level of evidence. Results and Conclusions: Propranolol and primidone reduce limb tremor (Level A). Alprazolam, atenolol, gabapentin (monotherapy), sotalol, and topiramate are probably effective in reducing limb tremor (Level B). Limited studies suggest that propranolol reduces head tremor (Level B). Clonazepam, clozapine, nadolol, and nimodipine possibly reduce limb tremor (Level C). Botulinum toxin A may reduce hand tremor but is associated with dose-dependent hand weakness (Level C). Botulinurn toxin A may reduce head tremor (Level C) and voice tremor (Level C), but breathiness, hoarseness, and swallowing difficulties may occur in the treatment of voice tremor. Chronic deep brain stimulation (DBS) (Level C) and thalamotomy (Level C) are highly efficacious in reducing tremor. Each procedure carries a small risk of major complications. Some adverse events from DBS may resolve with time or with adjustment of stimulator settings. There is insufficient evidence regarding the surgical treatment of head and voice tremor and the use of gamma knife thalamotomy (Level U). Additional prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are needed to better determine the efficacy and side effects of pharmacologic and surgical treatments of ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-214
Number of pages13
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Appendix H: Practice Parameter: Therapies for essential tremor: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this