How is essential tremor treated?

The 1st-line treatments for essential tremor are beta-blockers, drugs generally used for cardiac disorders. They reduce the amplitude of tremors by around 50%, but are contraindicated in cases of asthma or diabetes.
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Anti-epileptics or anxiolytics can also reduce the amplitude of tremors.

However, no specific medication for essential tremor is currently available.

Some patients experience a significant reduction in their symptoms after ingesting small quantities of alcohol. However, the risk of addiction must be taken into account, and patients must be warned of the “rebound” effect of tremor the day after drinking alcohol.


Deep brain stimulation

In the most severe cases of essential tremor, a stimulation electrode is implanted in the thalamus to deliver electrical impulses that control the tremor.

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that can reduce tremors by 70 to 80%.



At the Paris Brain Institute, a phase 2 clinical trial led by Prof Carine Karachi, in collaboration with Prof Stéphane Lehéricy and Dr Elodie Hainque, is currently underway. The ULTRABRAIN project involves coupling two technologies: focused ultrasound and MRI. Ultrasound, applied at low intensity, is used to neuromodulate the activity of a targeted region of the thalamus, in other words to briefly modify its activity. The effectiveness of this neuromodulation is verified in real time in a patient awake during the procedure by the immediate disappearance of his tremors.

This project represents a major advance for patients, providing access to a minimally invasive, personalised treatment targeted at the brain region to be treated, while limiting side effects. This innovative therapy is now making it possible to significantly reduce the tremor affecting the upper limbs, thereby improving patients’ quality of life.