Tics moderate treatment outcome with sertraline but not cognitive-behavior therapy in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Feb 1;61(3):344-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.09.035.


Background: The presence of a comorbid tic disorder may predict a poorer outcome in the acute treatment of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Methods: Using data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded Pediatric OCD Treatment Study (POTS) that compared cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), medical management with sertraline (SER), and the combination of CBT and SER (COMB), to pill placebo (PBO) in children and adolescents with OCD, we asked whether the presence of a comorbid tic disorder influenced symptom reduction on the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) after 12 weeks of treatment.

Results: Fifteen percent (17 of 112) of patients exhibited a comorbid tic disorder. In patients without tics, results replicated previously published intent-to-treat outcomes: COMB > CBT > SER > PBO. In patients with a comorbid tic disorder, SER did not differ from PBO, while COMB remained superior to CBT and CBT remained superior to PBO.

Conclusions: In contrast to CBT outcomes, which are not differentially impacted, tic disorders appear to adversely impact the outcome of medication management of pediatric OCD. Children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a comorbid tic disorder should begin treatment with cognitive-behavior therapy alone or the combination of cognitive-behavior therapy plus a serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Tic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Tic Disorders / psychology
  • Tic Disorders / therapy*
  • Tourette Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline