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Treatment and prognosis of essential tremor

Daniel Tarsy, MD
Ludy Shih, MD
Section Editor
Howard I Hurtig, MD
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Tremor is defined as a rhythmic and oscillatory movement of a body part with a relatively constant frequency and variable amplitude. It is caused by either alternating or synchronous contractions of antagonistic muscles. Tremor is the most common of all movement disorders, and essential tremor (ET) is the most common neurologic cause of postural or action tremor.

The criteria for ET and methods for distinguishing this from other tremors are shown in the tables (table 1 and table 2 and table 3). (See "Overview of tremor", section on 'Essential tremor'.)

This topic will review the treatment and prognosis of ET. The surgical treatment of medically refractory ET is discussed in greater detail separately. (See "Surgical treatment of essential tremor".)


Important ET treatment issues include the following [1,2]:

Whom to treat?


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Mar 17, 2016.
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