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Friday, May 11, 2018

Shaking Hands: What Are My Treatment Options?

What causes shaky hands?

Shaky hands are commonly referred to as a hand tremor. A hand tremor isn’t life-threatening, but it can make daily tasks difficult. It can also be an early warning sign of some neurological and degenerative conditions. You should speak with your doctor if you experience hand tremors.

Many people associate shaky hands with Parkinson’s disease, but the most common cause of shaking hands is actually essential tremor.

Essential tremor is also the most common neurologic disorder affecting adults, but it’s not well-understood. It’s likely caused by a disruption in the normal functioning of the cerebellum. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes the interruption nor how to stop it. They’re also unclear about whether it’s a degenerative process.

People with essential tremor experience frequent shaking. The shaking can’t be controlled and most often occurs in the hands, arms, head, and vocal cords.

Keep reading: Essential tremor »

By comparison, people with Parkinson’s disease typically experience a hand tremor when their muscles are at rest and see a reduction in the tremor when their muscles are in use. Shaky hands can also be caused by:
overactive thyroid
cerebellar disease
Huntington’s disease
medication side effects
caffeine overdose
alcohol abuse or addiction
low blood sugar

What medications treat shaky hands?

Not everyone with shaky hands will need treatment, but if your doctor decides you’re a good candidate, you may first begin by taking prescription medication.
Commonly prescribed medications

The most commonly prescribed medications for essential tremors or shaky hands are:

propranolol (Inderal)
primidone (Mysoline)
long-acting propranolol (Inderal LA)

Propranolol is a beta-blocker designed to treat arrhythmia and hypertension, while primidone is an anti-seizure medication.

If these do not work for you, your doctor may recommend other medications.

Other beta-blockers

Sotalol (Betapace) and atenolol (Tenormin) are also beta-blockers that may be used to treat essential tremor. Your doctor may prescribe one of these medications if other medications don’t help your tremor.
Other antiseizure medications

Gabapentin (Neurontin) and topiramate (Topamax) are other medications primarily used to treat seizures. They may be helpful for people with essential tremor.
Anxiety medication

Alprazolam (Xanax) is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but research indicates that it may be an effective treatment for essential tremor. This drug should be taken with great caution because it’s known to be habit-forming.

Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) shows promise as a treatment for essential tremor in the hands. This medicine may cause permanent muscle weakness where injected, so be sure to talk with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits. The benefits from a successful injection can last up to three months. Subsequent injections may be needed.

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