Treatment for Tourette’s Syndrome

Most children with tics do not require treatment. The fluctuating course of the disorder makes waiting a prudent choice; it also makes it difficult to clearly assess response to the medications, since a regular fluctuation rather than medication effects may cause worsening or improvements. When treatment is considered, different neurologists may have some slightly different approaches.

Clondine (Catapress) may be used as the first line of therapy by some. The advantage is that it is available in a patch form that may be replaced once per week, not requiring a daily ingestion of tablets. Like Guanephezine (Tenex) it is a centrally acting blood pressure medication that may benefit tics and calm down the hyperactive behavior. In some, especially with Tenex, parents report an improvement in attention span and school performance.

Other tic suppressing medications included pimozide, fluphenazine, and haloperidol. These are highly effective, but may be associated with some serious side effects, including liver and blood clot dysfunctions, weight gain, allergic reactions, dystonic reactions, and tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a potentially irreversible movement disorder that involves the mouth, tongue, and extremities. Other medications helpful in this situation include the SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors); these include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, and Celexa. These medications may reduce anxiety and improve obsessive-compulsive inclination and behavior. Their primary indication is as antidepressants. Depression plays an active role in late Tourette’s disorder patients.

Other treatments include psychological counseling, behavioral modification, support groups, and biofeedback with limited results.

The natural course and outcome of this disorder is variable and in many situations as the individual matures the degree of the tics and the disorder tunes down gradually, regardless to the medications effects.