Essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common neurological diseases. Despite this high prevalence, treatment options remain limited. Recent advances in mechanistic research have led to renewed interest in developing newer pharmacotherapeutic agents. Although this is promising, there remains surprisingly little knowledge of the magnitude of the vast ET patient population who would benefit from and/or engage with such agents. This is because the vast bulk of ET patients in the population has milder tremor and does not seek medical care for their tremor. How many of these would be interested in taking a new agent? Hence, the level of unmet need, from the patient perspective and from a public health perspective, is totally unclear. In this article, the author systematically reviews peer-reviewed data on several pertinent questions that relate to this unmet need. The questions are as follows: (1) What proportion of the population of ET cases sees a health care provider for their tremor? (2) What proportion of the ET population has a tremor that is severe enough for them to want to take a medication for their tremor? (3) How do other factors such as age, sex, education, health literacy, and locale affect the receptivity to treatment in ET? (4) What is the patient use of the current ET medications? (5) Is the unmet need greater in some groups of ET cases than others? For each of these questions, available data are carefully reviewed and analyzed, and gaps in knowledge identified for further investigation.
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