A twitch is a small, involuntary contraction and relaxation of a muscle or group of muscles. Medication side effects, physical exertion, fatigue, and excessive caffeine can all cause twitching in the fingers and thumbs.

A person’s doctor can help them determine the cause of twitching fingers. In some cases, it can be due to a neurological disorder. If this is the case, a person may also experience other symptoms.

This article discusses the possible causes of finger twitching and their treatments. It also looks at when to contact a doctor.

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Muscle spasms and twitching can be side effects of some medications, including:

  • corticosteroids
  • isoniazid, an antibiotic
  • succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant
  • flunarizine, a drug that interrupts the movement of calcium
  • topiramate, a drug that helps treat epilepsy
  • lithium, a psychiatric medication

If a person thinks that a medication is causing muscle twitching in their fingers or thumbs, they should contact their doctor before stopping the treatment.

The doctor may recommend lowering the dosage or switching to an alternative medication, if possible.

A magnesium deficiency can cause muscle contractions and tremors, which may affect the fingers and thumbs. This issue is uncommon among otherwise healthy people because the kidneys limit the amount of magnesium excreted in urine.

However, certain factors can increase the chances of developing a magnesium deficiency. These include:

A person with a magnesium deficiency may initially experience:

  • a loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • weakness

If the deficiency becomes severe, the person may experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • muscle contractions and cramps
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • coronary spasms
  • personality changes
  • seizures

A magnesium deficiency may affect other minerals in the body, such as calcium and potassium. Deficiencies in these minerals can cause additional symptoms and complications.


A doctor may recommend magnesium supplements. However, anyone who suspects that they have a nutrient deficiency should contact a doctor before trying a supplement.

A 2020 article reported a case of a 43-year-old male who developed a tremor in his right hand and head. He also experienced:

  • diarrhea
  • double vision
  • unsteady gait
  • speech changes

The article explained that the peripheral symptoms were due to deficiencies in vitamin E and copper/

In 2011, doctors reported a case of a male in his mid-20s who had a vitamin E deficiency and developed a tremor in his upper limbs and trunk. The man also experienced:

  • changes in gait and posture
  • difficulty articulating
  • a decline in cognition

The medical team concluded that the tremor resulted from the vitamin E deficiency, but noted that this symptom of the deficiency is rare.


The treatment for involuntary movements caused by a vitamin E deficiency is a high dosage of oral vitamin E supplements.

Anyone who suspects that they have a nutrient deficiency should consult a doctor, who can recommend the right dosage of supplements.

People with benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) have widespread involuntary muscle twitches.

Symptoms are usually present for years, and some clinicians only diagnose BFS if the symptoms have existed for at least 5 years.

Doctors do not know what causes BFS. However, a 2013 study found a link between this syndrome and decreased neurological activity in the small nerve fibers in the skin and sweat glands. Confirming this relationship will require more research.

There may also be links between BFS and health anxiety disorder. Anxiety may cause twitching.


Some doctors have found that certain drugs that treat epilepsy, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin, can reduce muscle twitches.

The drug gabapentin, which acts on the nervous system, may also help control twitching.

It is worth noting, however, that using the drugs above to treat twitching constitutes off-label use. “Off-label use” refers to a doctor treating one condition with a drug that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat a different condition.

Essential tremor is the repeated, involuntary movement of a body part. In a person with essential tremor, the movements occur with consistent frequency and force.

Essential tremor is the most common neurological cause of tremors, but doctors do not know what causes the condition.

People usually experience essential tremor in their hands, which may affect the fingers and thumbs. In some people, the tremor extends to the arms or head, and it can also affect a person’s voice.

Essential tremor does not change a person’s life expectancy. However, it can affect a person’s quality of life and cause disability.


Some people seek treatment for essential tremor, and both medical and nonmedical interventions can help.

Regarding medication, doctors will use trial and error to find the most appropriate drug and dosage for each person. The following table lists the first, second, and third lines of treatment for essential tremor.

First-line treatmentsSecond-line treatmentsThird-line treatments
combination of propranolol and primidonetopiramate

These drugs have not received FDA approval to treat essential tremor specifically, but some doctors prescribe them for this purpose on an off-label basis.

Also, a person may find that weighing down the affected area helps control their tremor. For example, a weighted wrist band may help with essential tremor in the hand.

Additionally, doctors may recommend relaxation techniques for people whose tremors are worsened by anxiety. They may also recommend avoiding caffeine, as this can increase tremors.

There are four parathyroid glands, which sit inside the neck. They produce parathyroid hormone, which helps raise levels of calcium in the blood.

The term “hyperparathyroidism” refers to overactivity of one or more parathyroid glands. This overactivity causes an imbalance in calcium and potassium in the body, which can lead to hypercalcaemia. This can cause muscle twitching.

Other symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include:


The only known cure for hyperparathyroidism is surgery to remove the affected parathyroid glands.

Certain drugs, such as bisphosphonates, may decrease calcium or parathyroid hormone levels and improve bone-related symptoms. However, they cannot cure hyperparathyroidism.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and repetitive movements and vocalizations. Doctors refer to these occurrences as “tics.”

People with Tourette syndrome may have multiple tics that start during childhood. Movement, or motor, tics are sudden and recurrent. They are usually triggered by an urge and can affect any part of the body.

In order to receive a diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a person must experience:

  • multiple motor tics and one or more vocal tics throughout the illness, though these may not occur together
  • tics that persist for more than 1 year
  • symptoms that begin before the age of 18
  • symptoms that are unrelated to substances or other medical conditions


Doctors usually do not prescribe medication to treat Tourette syndrome. However, children tend to respond well to behavioral interventions for tics.

Children with Tourette syndrome may have accompanying psychiatric disorders that require appropriate treatment. These may include:

Over time, tics can disappear, but symptoms of any psychiatric disorder may persist.

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that usually occurs in adults over 50 years.

A person with Parkinson’s may experience a tremor. This typically begins on one side of the body and worsens over time.

Some other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • unstable posture
  • difficulty walking
  • slow movements

Parkinson’s disease causes a loss of cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This area makes dopamine, a neurochemical that helps control and coordinate body movements.


Doctors initially treat Parkinson’s disease with the drug levodopa. This is a synthetic version of an amino acid that the body converts into dopamine.

Taking supplementary levodopa helps control some symptoms of dopamine deficiency.

As the condition progresses, people need additional treatments. Doctors may prescribe the following drugs in addition to levodopa:

  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors: These help slow the depletion of dopamine and increase the availability of levodopa.
  • Drugs that act on acetylcholine receptors: These help reduce muscle twitching and rigidity.

A doctor may also prescribe ropinirole or pramipexole to further activate dopamine receptors in the brain.

Learn more about Parkinson’s disease tremors.

ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive motor neuron disease, and its symptoms gradually worsen over time.

In the beginning stages, ALS can cause muscle twitches in the arm, which might include the hands and fingers. Twitching can also occur in the legs, shoulders, and tongue.

Over time, a person may develop muscle weakness, which can spread to other parts of the body. Swallowing, speech, and breathing problems can occur as the condition continues to progress.

Some other symptoms of ALS include:

  • muscle cramps
  • muscle tightness and stiffness
  • muscle weakness
  • slurred, nasal speech
  • difficulty chewing or swallowing


Currently, there is no cure for ALS. However, certain treatments can help control symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the quality of life.

The FDA have, so far, approved the following medications to treat ALS:

  • Riluzole: This reduces damage to neurons involved in movement, although it cannot reverse the damage.
  • Edaravone: This slows a decline in daily functioning.
  • Sodium phenylbutyrate/taurursodiol: This blocks stress signals in cells to preent nerve cell death.
  • Tofersen: This injectable drug may be a suitable treatment for people with ALS who have an SOD1 gene mutation.

Other possible causes of twitching in the fingers and thumbs include:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • tiredness or exhaustion
  • alcohol consumption
  • caffeine consumption

If a person experiences frequent or persistent twitching in their fingers or thumbs, it is best to contact a doctor for a diagnosis. The doctor may perform an examination to rule out a neurological disorder.

Once the doctor has identified the cause of finger twitching, they can advise on suitable tretments.

Here are some frequently asked questions about finger twitching.

When should I be worried about finger twitching?

If finger twitching occurs alongside other symptoms, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition. For example, walking difficulties and an unstable posture might indicate Parkinson’s disease, while muscle stiffness, breathing problems, and swallowing difficulties might suggest ALS.

It is best to contact a doctor if a person has concerns about finger twitching and any other symptoms. The doctor can determine whether an underlying condition is responsible for the twitching.

How do I stop my finger from twitching?

If finger twitching is due to alcohol or caffeine consumption, then reducing or cutting out these may help. Managing stress or tiredness can also be beneficial. However, if finger twitching is due to an underlying condition, then medical treatments may be necessary.

There are numerois possible causes of finger twitching. Possible causes include stress, exhaustion, and consuming caffeine or alcohoil.

If finger twitching results from a neurological condition, the person will usually experience additional signs and symptoms. Medical conditions that can cause twitching in the fingers include beign fasciculation syndrome, essential tremor, hyperparathyroidism, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS.

Certain medications and a deficiency in vitamin E or magnesium can also cause twitching.

It is best for a person to contact a doctor if they experience persistent or frequent finger twitching. The doctor can help identify the cause and advise on a suitable treatment plan where necessary.