Medication for Tourette Disorder

Many people with Tourette disorder only have mild tics and do not need to take medication. But if symptoms impair daily life, the doctors at NYU Langone may prescribe medication to manage or suppress tics.

Several antipsychotic medications—such as haloperidol and pimozide, and the more recently available risperidone and aripiprazole—are effective in reducing or eliminating tics. These medications sometimes cause side effects, such as drowsiness, weight gain, and fatigue, and they can lead to movement problems, like tremors and dystonia. NYU Langone doctors monitor children and adolescents closely during the course of treatment and adjust these medication as necessary.

Medications used to treat people with high blood pressure, such as guanfacine and clonidine, have also been found to be helpful in the management of tics. Your doctor may recommend trying these before antipsychotic medications.

People with conditions associated with Tourette disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, may be treated with medication as well. For example, certain types of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can help to manage obsessive-compulsive habits. Your doctor may prescribe stimulants or other medications to manage symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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