Use of Tic-Suppressing Medication and Other Psychotropic Drugs in Children and Adolescents with Newly Diagnosed Tic Disorders in Denmark

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2020 Oct;30(8):476-485. doi: 10.1089/cap.2020.0060. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Objective: Only few psychotropic drugs are approved to treat tic disorders. The aim was to describe use of tic-suppressing medication and other psychotropic drugs in children with tics. Methods: Using nationwide registries, we identified children receiving a tic diagnosis in Denmark during 2006-2017 and extracted data on tic-suppressing medication and other psychotropic drugs. Results: Antipsychotics were used by 12%. Use of tic-suppressing medication increased with age and varied according to sex. Over time less children with tics were medicated (from 44% to 38% in the total use of psychotropic drugs) mainly due to decreased use of antipsychotics (from 18% to 6.4%). In recent years, use of aripiprazole exceeded that of risperidone (38% vs. 35%), although risperidone was most often first choice (34%) followed by aripiprazole (22%). Most children stayed on their initial treatment. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication (27%) was the most common additional psychotropic drug class used. Regional variations were found in the treatment of tics. Hospital specialists were mainly responsible for treatment. Conclusions: Most children with tics do not use tic-suppressing or other psychotropic drugs. The use of aripiprazole superseded risperidone, however risperidone remains the most common first-choice treatment. Treatment was mainly handled by specialists, which is reassuring given the lack of national guidelines, however, regional variations merit further attention as do the variation in treatment between young girls and boys.

Keywords: antipsychotics; drug utilization; pediatrics; psychotropic drugs; tic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aripiprazole / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Registries
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use*
  • Tic Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Aripiprazole
  • Risperidone