Tourette syndrome and other chronic tic disorders: an update on clinical management

Expert Rev Neurother. 2018 Feb;18(2):125-137. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2018.1413938. Epub 2017 Dec 8.


The management of Tourette syndrome (TS) and other chronic tic disorders occurs in multiple stages and begins with comprehensive assessment and complex psychoeducation. Behavioral and pharmacological interventions (second stage) are needed when tics cause physical or psychosocial impairment. Deep brain stimulation surgery or experimental therapies represent the third stage. Areas covered: Discussed are recent advances in assessment and therapy of chronic tic disorders, encompassing the three stages of intervention, with the addition of experimental, non-invasive brain stimulation strategies. A PubMed search was performed using as keywords: 'tic disorders', 'Tourette syndrome', 'assessment', 'rating scales', 'behavioral treatment', 'pharmacological treatment', 'deep brain stimulation', 'transcranial magnetic (or current) stimulation', and 'transcranial current stimulation'. More than 300 peer-reviewed articles were evaluated. The studies discussed have been selected on the basis of novelty and impact. Expert commentary: Comprehensive assessment of tic disorders and psychoeducation are crucial to a correct active management approach. Behavioral treatments represent first line of active interventions, with increasing potential offered by telehealth. Antipsychotics and alpha agonists remain first line pharmacological interventions for tics, although VMAT-2 inhibitors appear promising. Deep brain stimulation is a potential option for medically refractory, severely disabled patients with tics, but age and target selection require further investigation.

Keywords: Tic disorders; Tourette syndrome; behavioral therapy; deep brain stimulation; medication; psychoeducation; transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Social Support
  • Telemedicine
  • Tic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Tic Disorders / therapy*
  • Tourette Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Antipsychotic Agents