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Tremor

Unintentional trembling or shaking of one or more body parts.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

The use of different treatment for incoordination of limb movement (ataxia) or tremor in people with multiple sclerosis

MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system which typically affects both young and middle aged adults. It can result in many different symptoms including ataxia.

Beta‐blockers may be able to help relive tremor for people with Parkinson's disease, but more research is needed on safety and effectiveness.

Tremor is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and it can be embarrassing and limit daily activities. The drugs most commonly used for Parkinson's disease tend to be more effective in treating other symptoms of the disease (such as rigidity or slowness of movement). Beta‐blocker drugs are used to relieve tremor from other conditions. However, the review found there is not enough evidence from trials to show whether beta‐blockers are safe and effective for tremor in Parkinson's disease. The blood pressure lowering effect of beta‐blockers may be a problem to people with Parkinson's disease and normal blood pressure.

Use of alprazolam for treatment of essential tremor

Essential tremor (ET) is the most common movement disorder. Although benign in term of its effect on life expectancy, it is typically progressive and is potentially disabling. Treatment is based primarily on pharmacological agents (propranolol and primidone as first‐line therapy) that could be ineffective in 25% to 55% of patients. Alprazolam has been suggested as potentially useful in ET. The authors of this review tried to assess its efficacy and safety in people with ET. One randomized study, which compared alprazolam and placebo in 24 people with head and/or limb ET, was included. Alprazolam produced a reduction in tremor severity associated with a high frequency of adverse events. However, the small number of studies and evidence of many methodological limitations in the one included study prevent firm conclusions on the benefit‐risk profile of this treatment. Further research is needed to confirm efficacy and to assess long‐term safety of alprazolam for treatment of patients with ET.

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Summaries for consumers

The use of different treatment for incoordination of limb movement (ataxia) or tremor in people with multiple sclerosis

MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system which typically affects both young and middle aged adults. It can result in many different symptoms including ataxia.

Beta‐blockers may be able to help relive tremor for people with Parkinson's disease, but more research is needed on safety and effectiveness.

Tremor is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and it can be embarrassing and limit daily activities. The drugs most commonly used for Parkinson's disease tend to be more effective in treating other symptoms of the disease (such as rigidity or slowness of movement). Beta‐blocker drugs are used to relieve tremor from other conditions. However, the review found there is not enough evidence from trials to show whether beta‐blockers are safe and effective for tremor in Parkinson's disease. The blood pressure lowering effect of beta‐blockers may be a problem to people with Parkinson's disease and normal blood pressure.

Use of alprazolam for treatment of essential tremor

Essential tremor (ET) is the most common movement disorder. Although benign in term of its effect on life expectancy, it is typically progressive and is potentially disabling. Treatment is based primarily on pharmacological agents (propranolol and primidone as first‐line therapy) that could be ineffective in 25% to 55% of patients. Alprazolam has been suggested as potentially useful in ET. The authors of this review tried to assess its efficacy and safety in people with ET. One randomized study, which compared alprazolam and placebo in 24 people with head and/or limb ET, was included. Alprazolam produced a reduction in tremor severity associated with a high frequency of adverse events. However, the small number of studies and evidence of many methodological limitations in the one included study prevent firm conclusions on the benefit‐risk profile of this treatment. Further research is needed to confirm efficacy and to assess long‐term safety of alprazolam for treatment of patients with ET.

See all (73)

Terms to know

Movement Disorders
Neurological conditions resulting in abnormal voluntary or involuntary movement, which may impact the speed, fluency, quality and ease of movement.
Neurological
Having to do with nerves or the nervous system.
Neurologist
A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.
Neurons (Nerve Cells)
A type of cell that receives and sends messages from the body to the brain and back to the body. The messages are sent by a weak electrical current. Also called nerve cell.
Neurotransmitters
A chemical that is made by nerve cells and used to communicate with other cells, including other nerve cells and muscle cells.

More about Tremor

Photo of an adult

Also called: Trembling

Other terms to know: See all 5
Movement Disorders, Neurological, Neurologist

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