Behavioral and pharmacological treatments for tourette syndrome: A review

Alan L. Peterson, Nathan H. Azrin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This article reviews the published treatment outcome research on pharmacological and behavioral treatments for Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS). Controlled group outcome studies of pharmacological treatments show about a 50-60% reduction in tics with haloperidol and pimozide and about a 20% reduction with clonidine. A controlled group outcome study and several within-subject design studies of behavioral treatments show about a 90% reduction in tics with habit reversal training. A large number of case studies generally confirm these results and also show benefits from other behavioral treatments such as relaxation training, self-monitoring, and contingency management. Clinical limitations of TS drugs are that they produce side effects in 50-85% of the patients and require continuous use, and long-term compliance with the medications is limited. The primary limitation of behavioral treatments is that they require a large initial time commitment. The methodological strengths of the controlled drug studies are the use of double-blind and group designs. For the behavioral studies, the strengths are rigorous recording and controlled within-subject designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalApplied and Preventive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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