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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Tourette syndrome

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* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome
  • Tourette disorder
  • Tourette's syndrome
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Treatment


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How might Tourette syndrome be treated?

Many individuals with Tourette syndrome have mild symptoms and do not require medication.[1][2] However, effective medications are available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. Neuroleptics are the most consistently useful medications for tic suppression; a number are available but some are more effective than others (for example, haloperidol and pimozide). Unfortunately, there is no one medication that is helpful to all people with Tourette syndrome, nor does any medication completely eliminate symptoms. In addition, all medications have side effects.[2] Additional medications with demonstrated efficacy include alpha-adrenergic agonists such as clonidine and guanfacine. These medications are used primarily for hypertension but are also used in the treatment of tics.[2]

Effective medications are also available to treat some of the associated neurobehavioral disorders that can occur in patients with Tourette syndrome. Recent research shows that stimulant medications such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine can lessen ADHD symptoms in people with Tourette syndrome without causing tics to become more severe.  However, the product labeling for stimulants currently contraindicates the use of these drugs in children with tics/Tourette syndrome and those with a family history of tics.[2] 

For obsessive-compulsive symptoms that significantly disrupt daily functioning, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors (clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline) have been proven effective in some individuals. [2]

Psychotherapy may be helpful as well. It can help with accompanying problems, such as ADHD, obsessions, depression and anxiety. Therapy can also help people cope with Tourette syndrome. For debilitating tics that don't respond to other treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may help. DBS consists of implanting a battery-operated medical device (neurostimulator) in the brain to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas that control movement. Further research is needed to determine whether DBS is beneficial for people with Tourette syndrome.[3]
Last updated: 4/22/2011

References
  1. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. MedlinePlus. 2009; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000733.htm. Accessed 2/24/2010.
  2. Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 2010 ; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tourette/detail_tourette.htm. Accessed 2/24/2010.
  3. Tourette Syndrome: Treatments and Drugs. Mayo Clinic. May 8, 2010; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tourette-syndrome/DS00541/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs. Accessed 4/22/2011.


Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions. Click on the link to view the article on this topic.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Tourette syndrome. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.