Ecopipam for Tourette Syndrome: A Randomized Trial

Pediatrics. 2023 Feb 1;151(2):e2022059574. doi: 10.1542/peds.2022-059574.


Background and objectives: All US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for Tourette syndrome are antipsychotics, and their use is limited by the risk of weight gain, metabolic changes, and drug-induced movement disorders. Several small trials suggest that ecopipam, a first-in-class, selective dopamine 1 receptor antagonist, reduces tics with a low risk for these adverse events. This trial sought to further evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ecopipam in children and adolescents with moderate to severe Tourette syndrome.

Methods: This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2b trial. Subjects aged ≥6 to <18 years with a baseline Yale Global Tic Severity Score Total Tic Score of ≥20 were randomly assigned 1:1 to ecopipam (n = 76) or placebo (n = 77). The primary endpoint was mean change over 12 weeks in the Yale Global Tic Severity Score Total Tic Score. The Clinical Global Impression of Tourette Syndrome Severity was the secondary endpoint. Safety and tolerability were evaluated at each study visit.

Results: Total tic scores were significantly reduced from baseline to 12 weeks in the ecopipam group compared with placebo (least squares mean differences -3.44, 95% confidence interval -6.09 to -0.79, P = .01). Improvement in Clinical Global Impression of Tourette Syndrome Severity was also greater in the ecopipam group (P = .03). More weight gain was seen in subjects assigned to placebo. No metabolic or electrocardiogram changes were identified. Headache (15.8%), insomnia (14.5%), fatigue (7.9%), and somnolence (7.9%) were the most common adverse events.

Conclusions: Among children and adolescents with TS, ecopipam reduces tics to a greater extent than placebo, without observable evidence of common antipsychotic-associated side effects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tics* / chemically induced
  • Tics* / complications
  • Tics* / drug therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome* / chemically induced
  • Tourette Syndrome* / complications
  • Tourette Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain


  • ecopipam
  • Antipsychotic Agents