How are we doing with the treatment of essential tremor (ET)? Persistence of patients with ETon medication: Data from 528 patients in three settings

E. D. Louis, E. Rios, C. Henchcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The pharmacological treatment of essential tremor (ET) is not optimal. There aronly two first-line medications and troublesome side effects are common. It is not uncommon forpatients to simply stop taking medication. Yet, no published data substantiate or quantify thisanecdotal impression. Objectives: To determine, amongst patients with ET who were prescribedmedication for tremor, what proportion are still taking medication and what proportion have stopped?Methods: Five hundred and twenty-eight patients with ET from three distinct study settings (clinical, brain donors, population) were interviewed. Results: A clear pattern that emerged across settings was that the proportion of patients with ET who had stopped medication was sizable and consistentlysimilar (nearly one-third): 31.4% (clinical), 24.3% (brain donors), 30.0% (population), 29.8%(overall). A similarly high proportion of cases with severe tremor had stopped their medication:31.9% (clinical), 36.4% (brain donors). For the four most commonly used medications (propranolol,primidone, diazepam, topiramate), one-half or more of the treated patients had stopped themedication; amongst the less commonly used medications, the proportion who stopped was even higher. Conclusions: Nearly one of every three patients with ET who had been prescribed medication for tremor had discontinued pharmacotherapy. Even more revealing was that a similar proportion of cases withsevere tremor had stopped medication. These data make tangibly evident that there is a sizablepopulation of patients with ET who are untreated and disabled, and underscore the inadequacy ofcurrent pharmacotherapeutic options for this common neurological disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-884
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clinical
  • Essential tremor
  • Medication
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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