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Medical Treatment


The majority of individuals with TS are not significantly disabled by their tics or behavioural symptoms and therefore do not require medication.


However, there are medications to help control symptoms when they interfere with functioning.


In the early 1980s there was primarily only 1 medication that was used to treat TS.  Today there are upwards of 10 medications that are being prescribed for people with TS.


The reason for this increase is studies that have been made on the use of existing medications for the treatment of TS.  Each year, new information is being made available.


For up-to-date information on current usage of medications, consult your treating physician.  The publication “Understanding Tourette Syndrome: A Guide For Clinicians” which is produced by the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada includes a section on the pharmacologic treatment of Tourette Syndrome which is up-to-date as of the most recent printing.


The dosage of any medication necessary to achieve maximum control of symptoms varies for each patient and must be gauged carefully by a medical doctor.  The medicine is usually introduced in small doses with gradual increases to the point where there is a maximum alleviation of symptoms with minimal side effects.


It is not desirable to completely eliminate the tics, since the amount of medication needed increases the risk of side-effects.  Some of the undesirable reactions to medications are fatigue, motor restlessness, depression, weight gain, social withdrawal, school phobia, and cognitive impairment.  Sometimes these side-effects can be alleviated with dosage reduction or a change of medication.


Other types of therapy may also be helpful.  Sometimes psychotherapy can assist an individual with TS and help his/her family cope with the psychosocial problems that may be associated with TS.  The use of relaxation techniques or biofeedback may help during prolonged periods of high stress.


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