The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn't known. It is likely to be caused by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors such as certain infections.
Recent research on Tourette syndrome has found problems in certain brain regions and neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) that transmit messages between the nerve cells. These abnormalities may be responsible for the symptoms of Tourette syndrome.
Certain factors that put you at risk of Tourette syndrome include
- Having a family history of Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders
- Male sex (men are about three to four times more likely than women to develop Tourette syndrome)
What is Tourette syndrome?
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by brief, repetitive, intermittent, involuntary actions known as tics. Tics that involve movement are referred to as motor tics and those that involve sounds are referred to as vocal tics. Motor tics usually show up before vocal tics do.
It is estimated that one out of every 160 children between the ages of 5 to17 years old in the United States is affected by Tourette syndrome. The average onset of symptoms is between the ages of three and nine years.
How is Tourette syndrome diagnosed?
For doctors to diagnose Tourette syndrome, you should have both motor and vocal tics for at least one year.
- There is typically no need for any investigations to arrive at the diagnosis of Tourette syndrome.
- In rare cases, the doctor may order for imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) and electroencephalogram (EEG) studies that may help them rule out other conditions when symptoms are confusing.
Can you get rid of Tourette syndrome?
The disorder does not get worse over time and the condition improves in the late teens and early 20s in many patients. Symptoms may disappear in some people. Others may not need medications to suppress tics. The majority of people with Tourette syndrome require no treatment for tic suppression unless the symptoms interfere with functioning.
Tourette syndrome is generally lifelong and chronic and has no cure. You cannot get rid of it. However, you can get rid of its symptoms and various treatment options can help you to effectively deal with them.
- Neuroleptics: These drugs are used to treat psychotic and non-psychotic disorders. The most effective ones in Tourette syndrome are haloperidol and pimozide.
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists: These drugs used primarily to treat hypertension, for example clonidine and guanfacine, are useful to suppress tics.
- Stimulant medications: For attention-deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD) that occurs in patients with Tourette syndrome, stimulant medications such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine are helpful.
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline have helped in dealing with the obsessive compulsive disorder that accompanies Tourette syndrome.
- Behavioral treatments: Among these, awareness training and competing response training have been used as supportive therapy to reduce tics.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Tourette Association of America
Top What Causes Tourette Syndrome Related Articles
AdderallAdderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. Review side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information before taking any medication.
aripiprazole (Abilify)Aripiprazole (Abilify) is an antipsychotic medication used to treat psychoses such as schizophrgenia, bipolar mania and mixed manic/depressive episodes, major depressive disorder in adults, irritability associated with autistic disorder, Tourette's disorder, agitation associated with schizophrenia or bipolar mania. This drug should not be taken by patients with certain diseases and health conditions.
Beta Blockers vs. SSRIsBeta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and congestive heart failure, to prevent kidney failure in patients with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. SSRIs (elective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are a type of antidepressant used to treat depression. Both types of drugs may be used to treat anxiety, however.
clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS)Clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Kapvay) is an oral and topical drug prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure. Off label uses include the treatment of the symptoms of narcotic and nicotine withdrawal, diabetic neuropathy, hot flashes (associated with menopause), and cancer pain. Review side effects, warnings and precautions, drug interactions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information prior to taking any medication.
dextroamphetamine sustained-action capsule - oral, Dexedrine
dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat, ProCentra, Zenzedi)dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine, Dextrostat, ProCentra, Zenzedi) is a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children, and narcolepsy. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
guanfacine (Intuniv, Tenex)Guanfacine (Intuniv, Tenex) is a prescription medication. The brand Intuniv is prescribed to use alone or in combination to treat ADHD . The brand Tenex is prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Side effects, drug intearctions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medicaiton.
Haloperidol (Haldol) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute psychosis, and Tourette's syndrome. Side effects include
- weight gain,
- dry mouth,
- vomiting, and
Drug interactions, dosing, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) vs. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are types of antidepressants used to treat depression. MAOIs are an older class of antidepressants that are not used as much because of drug and food interactions. MAOIs also are used to treat Parkinson's disease. SSRIs are also used to treat anxiety.
methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, Daytrana)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER, Daytrana, Quillivant XR, Metadate CD, Metadate ER) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy and children with ADHD. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, patient safety information, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
pimozide - oral, Orap
Tourette SyndromeTourette syndrome is disorder, which symptoms include involuntary facial tics, motor tics, and vocal tics. The cause of Tourette syndrome is not known. ADHD is associated with Tourette syndrome. Treatment includes medication, psychotherapy, and in severe cases surgery.
What Exactly Is Tourette Syndrome?Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a lifelong neurological disorder that starts more commonly during childhood between five and 10 years of age. People affected with TS display rapid, repetitive movements and words together known as tics over which they have no control.