Essential Tremor Treatments

The decision to treat ET is based on how bothersome the symptoms are for the patient.

Certain factors can make tremors worse, so the following lifestyle changes may help to decrease tremors:

  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine.
  • Avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
  • Use relaxation techniques, such as yoga and deep-breathing exercises. Or use biofeedback, a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and skin temperature.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to see if any medications you’re taking could be making your tremors worse.


Some patients find relief with the following medications:

  • Propanolol
  • Antiseizure medications, such as primidone, gabapentin and topiramate
  • Tranquilizers, such as alprazolam or clonazepam, are prescribed for some patients
  • Botulinum toxin injections

Functional neurosurgical treatment: Deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation surgery has been safely and effectively used to treat essential and other tremors for more than 20 years.

Patients with essential and other tremors are considered candidates for deep brain stimulation if their tremors are uncontrolled despite adequate trials of several medications. A patient is also a candidate if he or she experiences medication side effects, such as slow heartbeat or sleepiness.

Deep brain stimulation can dramatically reduce hand tremor in those people with essential tremor. In many cases, the tremor can be eliminated. Most people experience at least 75 percent relief. This effect may last for many years, with occasional programming adjustments needed to maintain the effects.


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