Created On: January 10th 2018. Posted In: Journal Articles
Botulinum Toxin Type A Injections as Monotherapy for Upper Limb Essential Tremor Using Kinematics

Samotus O, Kumar N, Rizek P, Jog M. Botulinum Toxin Type A Injections as Monotherapy for Upper Limb Essential Tremor Using Kinematics. Can J Neurol Sci. 2018;45(1):11-22.

There is a significant need for a targeted therapy for essential tremor (ET), as medications have not been developed specifically for ET, and the ones prescribed are often not well-tolerated, so that many patients remain untreated. Recent work has shown that, unlike previous experience, kinematically guided individualized botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) injections provide benefit along with minimal weakness. Ours is the first long-term (96-week) safety and efficacy study of BoNT-A as monotherapy for ET using kinematically driven injection parameters.

Ten ET patients were administered six serial BoNT-A treatments every 16 weeks and were assessed at 6 weeks following treatment. During each study visit, the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin (FTM) scale, the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, and the Quality of Life for Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) were administered along with kinematic assessment of the treated limb. Participants performed scripted tasks with motion sensors placed over each arm joint. Dosing patterns were determined using the movement disorder neurologist's interpretation of muscles contributing to the kinematically analyzed upper limb tremor biomechanics.

There was a 33.8% (p<0.05) functional improvement (FTM part C) and a 39.8% (p<0.0005) improvement in QUEST score at week 96 compared to pretreatment scores at week 0. Although there was a 44.6% (p<0.0005) non-dose-dependent reduction in maximal grip strength, only 2 participants complained of mild weakness. Following the fourth serial treatment, mean action tremor score was reduced by 62.9% (p=0.001) in the treated and by 44.4% (p=0.03) in the untreated arm at week 96 compared to week 48.

Individualized BoNT-A dosing patterns to each individual's tremor biomechanics provided an effective monotherapy for ET as function improved without functionally limiting muscle weakness.