English summaries Suom Lääkäril 2022; 78 : e30469 www.laakarilehti.fi/e30469 (Julkaistu 18.2.2022)

Essential tremor – symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Rebekka OrtizJari HonkaniemiEero Pekkonen

Essential tremor is a common movement disorder with bilateral upper limb action tremor as leading symptom. Other mild neurological signs, such as slight ataxia or rest tremor, can be seen. The existence of non-motor symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and cognitive problems is common, especially in the advanced stage, affecting quality of life even more than the tremor.

The clinical examination is the basis for diagnosis. Besides neurological examination, the examiner should also evaluate cognition and mood. Imaging studies are not necessary if no atypical signs are present.

Half of the patients benefit from oral medicines. Commonly used medicines are propranolol, primidone, topiramate and gabapentin. Tremor is alleviated by 30–70% on average but side effects often prevent the effective use of medicines. The patient can use two or more medicines to increase efficacy. In addition, physical and occupational therapy and supportive discussions can increase understanding of the disease and quality of life.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) effectively alleviates severe drug resistant essential tremor. Directional DBS (dDBS) using novel directional electrode technology appears to reduce stimulation related side effects such as dysarthria. Several programming sessions are needed to identify the optimal settings. Thalamotomy and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can be used when DBS is contraindicated.

Rebekka Ortiz, Jari Honkaniemi, Eero Pekkonen

Rebekka Ortiz

M.D., Ph.D., Specialist in Neurology and General Practice

Neurology Department, Tampere University Hospital


Rebekka Ortiz LT, neurologian ja yleislääketieteen erikoislääkäri Tays, neurologian klinikka

Jari Honkaniemi neurologian apulaisprofessori, Turun yliopisto ylilääkäri, Tays, neurologian klinikka ja Vaasan keskussairaala, neurologian klinikka

Eero Pekkonen neurologian dosentti, osastonylilääkäri Hyks, neurologian klinikka

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