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Parkinson's Disease

Essential Tremors

01/18/2011

Question:

I was diagnosed with ITP when I was 3 years old. Symptoms of bruising, runny bloody nose, petit mal seizures, tremors, etc. I was treated till I was 12, then taken off all medication. I seemed to do fine, with the exception of one petit mal seizure at about age 16 or so. My platelet count seems to be fine now, but at age 28 my tremors started back. Just a mild "too much coffee" tremor at the time, but am now age 56, and the tremors seem to worsen as time goes by. I have an aunt with ET and she and I seem to be the exception to the norm, as a cup of coffee helps more than worsen the tremors. Also, the main medication of Inderal does neither of us any good whatsoever. I have been on anywhere from 10 mg - 80 mg, to no avail. Other meds turn us both into zombies, which we do not want. Any thing you can tell us? Is there any help?

Answer:

Essential tremor and Parkinson's disease are different conditions. The goal of treating tremor in both conditions is to improve function, but can be limited due to side effects of medication. Medications commonly prescribed for essential tremor include propranolol, primidone, gabapentin, and topiramate. The first two listed are usually the most effective, but typically require starting at low doses and increasing slowly until improvement is seen or side effects occur. When medications fail, there are surgical options that may be appropriate, including deep brain stimulation therapy.

If not already done, a consult with a neurologist who specializes in Movement Disorders may be beneficial. This forum is not intended for specific medical advice.

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Response by:

Punit  Agrawal, DO Punit Agrawal, DO
Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University