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Parkinson's Disease

Essential Tremor

09/01/1999

Question:

Does "essential tremor" relate to Parkinson disease? Is it reasonably cured? I have it in both hands, mostly in right hand.

Answer:

Essential tremor(ET) is a distinct entity from Parkinson`s disease(PD). While tremor is a common symptom, the tremor in ET occurs more with posture and activity while the tremor in PD occurs more at rest. Treatment is also entirely different. Propranolol (Inderal), primidone (Mysoline) and gabapentin (Neurontin) are useful in ET while dopamine agonists and levodopa are used in treating PD. For severe ET, deep brain stimulation of the thalamus is a useful option when medications fail to work. There are some families in whom both ET and PD are seen, suggesting a common genetic defect. For the most part, however, ET and PD are not related in terms of a causative factor.

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Response by:

Arif Dalvi, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati