What Drugs Cause Shaking Hands?

Shaking or trembling hands, a condition known as hand tremors, can be caused or exacerbated by several medications. These medications may affect the central nervous system, disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters, or have other effects that lead to tremors as a side effect. Here are some drugs and categories of medications that are known to potentially cause hand tremors:

  • Stimulants: Certain stimulant medications, such as those used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can lead to hand tremors. Common examples include methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) and amphetamine-based medications (e.g., Adderall).
  • Antidepressants:
    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Some SSRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac), may cause hand tremors as a side effect.
    • Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs, like amitriptyline (Elavil), can also lead to hand tremors.
  • Antipsychotic Medications: Some antipsychotic drugs, particularly first-generation antipsychotics like haloperidol (Haldol), have been associated with tremors as a side effect.
  • Bronchodilators: Medications used to treat respiratory conditions, such as albuterol and salbutamol, can cause hand tremors, especially if overused.
  • Corticosteroids: High doses or long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, can lead to muscle weakness and tremors.
  • Lithium: Lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder, can cause hand tremors in some individuals, especially at higher doses.
  • Mood Stabilizers: Some mood stabilizers, like valproic acid (Depakote), may be associated with hand tremors as a side effect.
  • Anticonvulsant Medications: Certain anticonvulsant drugs, including phenytoin (Dilantin), can lead to hand tremors.
  • Caffeine: Excessive caffeine intake, whether from beverages like coffee or medications containing caffeine, can lead to jittery hands and tremors.
  • Alcohol Withdrawal: Tremors in the hands can be a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

It’s important to note that not everyone who takes these medications will experience hand tremors, and the severity of the tremors can vary. If you are taking a medication that you suspect is causing hand tremors or experiencing any bothersome side effects, it’s essential to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms, adjust your medication if necessary, or explore alternative treatment options.

Additionally, some medical conditions, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, and certain neurological disorders, can also cause hand tremors unrelated to medication use. If you are experiencing persistent or worsening hand tremors, it’s important to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause and appropriate management.