Survey of medication usage patterns among essential tremor patients: Movement disorder specialists vs. general neurologists

Nancy L. Diaz, Elan D. Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although small treatment trials have examined the efficacy of front-line medications in tremor reduction in essential tremor (ET), an overall survey of pharmacological management has not been undertaken in a large sample of ET cases. Objectives: To conduct a survey of medication usage among several hundred ET patients. Methods: A computerized database at the Neurological Institute of New York was used to identify 223 ET patients cared for by movement disorder neurologists and 37 cared for by general neurologists. Each had been seen one or more times within past five years. Lifetime treatment data were abstracted from clinical records. Results: One-hundred-sixty-three (73.1%) of 223 patients cared for by movement disorder neurologists had taken medication for ET during their lifetime; 53/163 (32.5%) had taken ≥4 medications; 31/163 (19.0%) had taken ≥5 medications; and 3 (1.8%), ≥10 medications. Nearly three-quarters (158/223 [70.9%]) had taken primidone or propranolol, yet 89/158 (56.3%) had discontinued both. Among 11 patients who had undergone ET surgery, the mean number of ET medications tried was 6.0 ± 2.8 (range = 3-12). Medication usage by general neurologists was less than by movement disorder specialists (p < 0.001). One-third of general neurologists' patients (14/37 [37.8%]) had taken primidone or propranolol at some point and 6/14 (42.9%) had discontinued both. Conclusions: In this large survey, a substantial proportion of ET patients failed treatment with both front-line medications. Among patients seeing movement disorder specialists, the number of medications they had had to try was sizable. These data demonstrate the limitations of current pharmacological options for ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-607
Number of pages4
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Volume16
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clinical
  • Epidemiology
  • Essential tremor
  • Medication
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology

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