Sustained Medication Reduction Following Unilateral VIM Thalamic Stimulation for Essential Tremor
Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an increasingly utilized therapeutic modality for the management of medication refractory essential tremor (ET). The aim of this study was to determine whether DBS allowed for anti-tremor medication reduction within the year after the procedure was performed.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review and telephone interviews on 34 consecutive patients who had been diagnosed with ET, and who had undergone unilateral DBS surgery.
Results: Of the 34 patients in our cohort, 31 patients (91%) completely stopped all anti-tremor medications either before surgery (21 patients, 62%) or in the year following DBS surgery (10 patients, 29%). Patients who discontinued tremor medications before DBS surgery did so because their tremors either became refractory to anti-tremor medication, or they developed adverse events to tremor medications. Patients who stopped tremor medications after DBS surgery did so due to sufficient tremor control. Only three patients (9%) who were taking tremor medications at the time of surgery continued the use of a beta-blocker post-operatively for the purpose of hypertension management in all cases.
Discussion: The data from this study indicate that medication cessation is common following unilateral DBS for ET.