Author: Charles Frank

Drug-Induced Tremor: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

how to stop drug-induced tremor

Blood tests and imaging studies (such as a CT scan of the head, brain MRI, and x-rays) are usually normal. The shaking is usually fast, about 4 to 12 movements per second.

  1. You may not need treatment or changes in the medicine if the tremor is mild and does not interfere with your daily activity.
  2. A steroid drug-induced tremor occurs even when you’re not taking excessively high doses.
  3. Drug-induced tremors that do not interfere with daily activities may not need to be treated.
  4. Your doctor may order lab tests and other tests such as an MRI or CT scan to rule out other conditions.

Tremors will generally resolve over time after the medication has been ceased, but occasionally a tremor caused by SSRIs may persist. There are some tremors that occur when you’re resting and others that only occur when you’re moving. A tremor that occurs when you’re moving may happen when you’re performing any type of motion, or, it may happen consistently during a specific motion. Medications like cyclosporine and tacrolimus, which are used to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs in people who receive an organ transplant, can cause tremors. These drugs are also used in people with autoimmune conditions. The tremor caused by these drugs is more likely at high doses.

How do doctors treat a medication-induced tremor?

Medications such as procainamide and amiodarone that are used to treat heart rhythm abnormalities can cause a drug-induced tremor. An overactive thyroid gland can result in symptoms like hand tremor, fast heart rate, weight loss, and difficulty sleeping. Contact your provider if you are taking a medicine and a tremor develops that interferes with your activity or is accompanied by other symptoms.

how to stop drug-induced tremor

Besides medical conditions, lifestyle factors like too much caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, emotional stress, and lack of sleep can lead to hand trembling and shaking. Immunosuppressants, which are used to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, can also lead to drug-induced tremors. Drugs used to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders such as antipsychotics, lithium, and certain antidepressants are also potential causes of drug-induced tremors. Caffeine is a stimulant that can also cause you to have tremors or can worsen existing tremors. Drug-induced tremors are caused by your brain’s response to the chemicals in certain medications.

Drug-induced tremors can also occur as the result of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. The shaking movement created by tremors is usually quick and tends to occur in cycles lasting six to 10 seconds. Drug-induced tremors may also be referred to as drug-induced Parkinson’s (DIP). In fact, 10 percent of Parkinson’s cases at a Parkinson’s disease treatment center turned out to be DIP. People taking anti-seizure medications like valproic acid (Depakote) and sodium valproate (Depakene) can experience a drug-induced tremor as a side effect.

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Severe tremor can interfere with daily activities, especially fine motor skills such as writing, and other activities such as eating or drinking. You should never stop taking your antidepressant or change your dose without talking to your doctor first. Your doctor may recommend gradually tapering your dose in order to minimize symptoms of discontinuation syndrome.

how to stop drug-induced tremor

Your doctor can diagnose whether you have an essential tremor or medication-induced tremor  based on your medical history, physical exam, and results of your blood tests. Many tremors are a result of neurological disorders or nervous system diseases causing hyperkinetic movements, which refer to abnormal, excessive, and involuntary movements. In addition to these disorders, certain medications can cause drug-induced tremors. Please keep reading to find out which commonly prescribed medications can cause hand tremors as a side effect. Risk factors for drug-induced tremors include taking many medications at the same time, older age, high doses of medications, and dosage forms of offending medications known for causing tremors.

What medications cause resting tremors?

You may not need treatment or changes in the medicine if the tremor is mild and does not interfere with your daily activity. Caffeine can cause tremor and make tremor caused by other medicines worse. If you have a tremor, avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda. Do not stop taking any medicine without first talking to your provider.

What is the most common cause of hand tremors?

They can even become life-threatening due to the risk of accidents and injuries. CT and MRI scans are done by a computer and allow your doctor to see your brain. Using these scans, your doctor can potentially rule out defects in your brain that may be causing tremors.

Drug-induced tremor, clinical features, diagnostic approach and management

Drinking caffeinated beverages, like coffee and certain teas or sodas, can make your tremors worse. Tremors aren’t life-threatening, but they may be embarrassing for you if they happen in public. You might want to go to a support group while you wait for your symptoms to subside. Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re taking, and consult them before adding any new over-the-counter medications. Stimulant medications and drugs containing theophylline should be used with caution.

Medications that cause the tremors include certain antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Certain medications can both cause tremors and worsen any tremors you already have from Parkinson’s disease or another similar disorder. Unfortunately, many medicines used to treat various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, can cause tremors. In very severe cases of tremors, people have to stop the causative drug and start another medication. Up to 20% of patients who take asthma medications develop a medication-induced tremor.

It can be a postural tremor or position-dependent tremor that occurs, for example, when you hold your arms outstretched. An essential tremor typically goes away when you finish the task or you are no longer in that position anymore. The exact cause of essential tremors is unknown, but there is a small chance that genetics may play a part in having tremors. Medications are available to treat a persistent tremor, which is great news since this condition can interfere with your daily life, reducing the quality of life. Many of us may not have considered the serious effects caused by complications of tremors, such as falls leading to injuries or vehicular accidents. Drug-induced tremors can occur when you move your body a certain way or are in certain positions.

Your doctor might want to rule out other potential causes of tremors by performing blood tests to check for abnormal levels of certain chemicals in your blood. Problems with your thyroid can also cause tremors, so your levels of thyroid hormones might be checked. Typically, the best solution for tremors caused by antidepressants is to stop taking the drug causing it and switch to a different medication.