An Acute Randomized Controlled Trial of Noninvasive Peripheral Nerve Stimulation in Essential Tremor.

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Essential tremor; movement disorders; neurostimulation; noninvasive stimulation; peripheral nerve stimulation; tremor


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a wrist-worn peripheral nerve stimulation device in patients with essential tremor (ET) in a single in-office session.

METHODS: This was a randomized controlled study of 77 ET patients who received either treatment stimulation (N = 40) or sham stimulation (N = 37) on the wrist of the hand with more severe tremor. Tremor was evaluated before and immediately after the end of a single 40-minute stimulation session. The primary endpoint compared spiral drawing in the stimulated hand using the Tremor Research Group Essential Tremor Rating Assessment Scale (TETRAS) Archimedes spiral scores in treatment and sham groups. Additional endpoints included TETRAS upper limb tremor scores, subject-rated tasks from the Bain and Findley activities of daily living (ADL) scale before and after stimulation as well as clinical global impression-improvement (CGI-I) rating after stimulation.

RESULTS: Subjects who received peripheral nerve stimulation did not show significantly larger improvement in the Archimedes spiral task compared to sham but did show significantly greater improvement in upper limb TETRAS tremor scores (p = 0.017) compared to sham. Subject-rated improvements in ADLs were significantly greater with treatment (49% reduction) than with sham (27% reduction; p = 0.001). A greater percentage of ET patients (88%) reported improvement in the stimulation group as compared to the sham group (62%) according to CGI-I ratings (p = 0.019). No significant adverse events were reported; 3% of subjects experienced mild adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral nerve stimulation in ET may provide a safe, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for transient relief of hand tremor symptoms.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)