Current pharmacotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of tourette syndrome

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Tourette syndrome is a childhood onset neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics. Although many youth experience attenuation or even remission of tics, in adolescence and young adulthood, some individuals experience persistent tics which can be debilitating or disabling. The majority of patients also have one or more psychiatric comorbid disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Treatment is multimodal, including both pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral treatment, and requires disentanglement of tics and the comorbid symptoms. Although the only two formally approved medications in the United States are haloperidol and pimozide, these treatments are generally not used as first-line interventions due to their significant potential for adverse effects. The α-adrenoceptor agonists guanfacine and clonidine have an established evidence base for both efficacy and tolerability, and are usually recommended as initial pharmacotherapy. Atypical neuroleptics, such as aripiprazole or risperidone, are typically used if the α-adrenoceptor agonists are ineffective or intolerable. However, many other pharmacological agents reviewed in this manuscript have been studied as treatment alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-179
Number of pages21
JournalDrugs of Today
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aripiprazole
  • Haloperidol
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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