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Am J Med. 2003 Aug 1;115(2):134-42.

Essential tremor: differential diagnosis and current therapy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160-7314, USA.


Essential tremor is a common movement disorder that affects between 5 and 10 million persons in the United States. It is characterized primarily by an action and postural tremor most often affecting the arms, but it can also affect other body parts. Essential tremor is a progressive neurologic disorder and can cause substantial disability in some patients. Although there is no cure for essential tremor, pharmacologic and surgical treatments can provide some benefit. Primidone and propranolol are first-line treatments. Other medications with potential efficacy include benzodiazepines, gabapentin, topiramate, and botulinum toxin. Patients with medication-resistant tremor may benefit from thalamotomy or deep brain stimulation of the thalamus. The use of medical and surgical therapies can provide benefit in up to 80% of patients with essential tremor.

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