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How are we doing with the treatment of essential tremor (ET)? persistence of patients with ET on medication : data from 528 patients in three settings

Louis, Elan D.; Rios, Eileen; Henchcliffe, Claire

Background: The pharmacological treatment of essential tremor (ET) is not optimal. There are only two first-line medications and troublesome side effects are common. It is not uncommon for patients to simply stop taking medication. Yet, no published data substantiate or quantify this anecdotal impression. Objectives: To determine, amongst patients with ET who were prescribed medication 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 consistently similar (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 the medication; 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 with severe tremor had stopped medication. These data make tangibly evident that there is a sizable population of patients with ET who are untreated and disabled, and underscore the inadequacy of current pharmacotherapeutic options for this common neurological disease.

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Title
European Journal of Neurology
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-1331.2009.02926.x

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders
Published Here
July 31, 2012
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