A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of phenylethylmalonamide, the major metabolite of primidone was performed in eight patients with essential tremor. Phenylethylmalonamide was given in a daily dose of 400 mg for one week and 800 mg for a second week. The compound had no statistically significant effect on the amplitude of tremor assessed by an accelerometric method, tests of performance, clinical evaluation and patient self assessment. No side effects occurred. Serum levels of phenylethylmalonamide on a daily dose of 400 mg were 11-27 micrograms/ml and on 800 mg daily were 16-48.5 micrograms/ml.