Interventions for tic disorders: An updated overview of systematic reviews and meta analyses

Psychiatry Res. 2020 May:287:112905. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112905. Epub 2020 Mar 1.


To conduct an updated overview of systematic reviews (SRs) summarizing the efficacy and safety of various strategies used to treat tic disorders (TDs) in children. We searched the Cochrane Library, PubMed, EMBASE, and relevant reference lists for articles published between the search deadline from our last overview and April 2019 and included 16 SRs. The results presented that antipsychotics, a2-adrenergic receptor agonists, and HRT/CBIT still appeared to be the most robust evidence-based options for the treatment of TDs. Compared with our last overview, more robust evidence showed that aripiprazole and acupuncture was effective treatment in treating children TDs, and DBS for medication-refractory and severely affected patients. In addition, physical activity or exercise may be promising treatments, and the clonidine adhesive patch is an effective, safe, and convenient treatment option for TDs. Moreover, methylphenidate, guanfacine, and desipramine appeared to reduce ADHD symptoms in children with tics. However, no research studies have examined HRT/CBIT alone compared with HRT/CBIT in combination with medication. More high-quality clinical trials comparing different interventions for TDs including economic evaluations should be encouraged.

Keywords: Interventions; Meta-analyses; Overview; Systematic reviews; Tic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aripiprazole / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Guanfacine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic*
  • Tic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Tic Disorders / psychology
  • Tic Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Methylphenidate
  • Guanfacine
  • Aripiprazole