Epidemiology and management of essential tremor in children

Paediatr Drugs. 2009;11(5):293-307. doi: 10.2165/11316050-000000000-00000.


Essential tremor (ET) is a common, often familial, movement disorder characterized by tremor of the limbs, head, and voice. Epidemiological surveys indicate that up to 5% of the adult population has ET, and 5-30% of adults with ET report symptom onset during childhood. There is, however, little published regarding ET in the pediatric population, and no prospective studies targeted specifically to children. Retrospective studies from subspecialty movement disorder clinics indicate that childhood-onset ET is usually hereditary, begins at a mean age of 6 years, and affects boys three times as often as girls. While ET occasionally results in disability during childhood, only one-quarter of children seeing a neurologist for ET require pharmacotherapy. Small case series suggest that propranolol is effective in approximately 50% of children with ET, but controlled treatment trials are lacking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Essential Tremor / drug therapy*
  • Essential Tremor / epidemiology
  • Essential Tremor / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol