Topiramate in essential tremor: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

William G. Ondo, J. Jankovic, G. S. Connor, R. Pahwa, R. Elble, M. A. Stacy, W. C. Koller, L. Schwarzman, S. C. Wu, J. F. Hulihan

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145 Scopus citations


Background: Essential tremor is most prevalent and most disabling in older patients. Additional therapies are required for patients with an inadequate response or intolerable side effects. In small trials, topiramate appeared to be beneficial in essential tremor. Methods: In this multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-design trial, patients with moderate to severe essential tremor of the upper limbs were randomized to 24 weeks of treatment with placebo or topiramate (target dose, 400 mg/day) as monotherapy or as an adjunct to one antitremor medication. The primary efficacy variable was the final visit tremor score based on the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (TRS). Results: The intent-to-treat population was 208 patients (topiramate, 108; placebo, 100). The final visit score (last observation carried forward) was lower in the topiramate group than with placebo (p < 0.001). Mean percentage improvement in overall TRS scores was 29% with topiramate at a mean final dose of 292 mg/day and 16% with placebo (p < 0.001). Topiramate was associated with greater improvement in function and disability (p = 0.001). A between-group difference (p < 0.001) was observed at the first on-treatment visit at 4 weeks when the target topiramate dose was 100 mg/day (mean achieved dose, 62 ± 9 mg/day). The most common treatment-limiting adverse events in topiramate-treated patients were paresthesia (5%), nausea (3%), concentration/attention difficulty (3%), and somnolence (3%). Adverse events were treatment limiting in 31.9% of topiramate patients and 9.5% of placebo patients. Conclusions: Topiramate was effective in the treatment of moderate to severe essential tremor. Tremor reduction was accompanied by functional improvements, such as in motor tasks, writing, and speaking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-677
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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