Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1007/s40263-017-0486-0; PMCID: PMC5843687


Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown etiology characterized by spontaneous, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Once thought to be rare, TS affects 0.3-1% of the population. Tics can cause physical discomfort, emotional distress, social difficulties, and can interfere with education and desired activities. The pharmacologic treatment of TS is particularly challenging, as currently the genetics, neurophysiology, and neuropathology of this disorder are still largely unknown. However, clinical experience gained from treating TS has helped us better understand its pathogenesis and, as a result, derive treatment options. The strongest data exist for the antipsychotic agents, both typical and atypical, although their use is often limited in children and adolescents due to their side-effect profiles. There are agents in a variety of other pharmacologic categories that have evidence for the treatment of TS and whose side-effect profiles are more tolerable than the antipsychotics; these include clonidine, guanfacine, baclofen, topiramate, botulinum toxin A, tetrabenazine, and deutetrabenazine. A number of new agents are being developed and tested as potential treatments for TS. These include valbenazine, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol, and ecopipam. Additionally, there are agents with insufficient data for efficacy, as well as agents that have been shown to be ineffective. Those without sufficient data for efficacy include clonazepam, ningdong granule, 5-ling granule, omega-3 fatty acids, and n-acetylcysteine. The agents that have been shown to be ineffective include pramipexole and metoclopramide. We will review all of the established pharmacologic treatments, and discuss those presently in development.

Journal Title

CNS drugs





First Page


Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Antipsychotic Agents; Child; Drug Design; Drug Development; Humans; Tourette Syndrome


Antipsychotic Agents; Drug Design; Drug Development; Tourette Syndrome