A behavioral intervention for tic disorders

January 01, 0001

A behavioral intervention for tic disorders

Tic disorders initially develop in childhood, and can significantly impair functioning. Current first line therapies are antipsychotic medications. These US researchers tested the efficacy of behavioral interventions in a randomized, observer-blind controlled trial of 126 children 9-17 years old with impairing Tourette or chronic tic disorder. Enrollees were randomly assigned to 8 weekly sessions of behavior therapy (n = 61) or a supportive therapy and education (n = 65).

The authors found: "Behavioral intervention led to a significantly greater decrease on the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (24.7 to 17.1) from baseline to end point compared with the control treatment (24.6 to 21.1). Significantly more children receiving behavioral intervention compared with those in the control group were rated as being very much improved or much improved on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (52.5% vs 18.5 percent, respectively, number needed to treat = 3). Attrition was low (12/126, or 9.5 percent). Tic worsening was reported by 4 percent of children (5/126). Treatment gains were durable, with 87 percent of available responders to behavior therapy exhibiting continued benefit 6 months following treatment."

The authors concluded: "A comprehensive behavioral intervention, compared with supportive therapy and education, resulted in greater improvement in symptom severity among children with Tourette and chronic tic disorder."

This study suggest the efficacy of behavioral therapy for treating tic disorders such as Tourette’s, which may be an appropriate alternative to antipsychotics for some patients.

For the full abstract, click here.

JAMA 303(19):1929-1937, 19 May 2010
© 2010 The American Medical Association
Behavior Therapy for Children With Tourette Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. John Piacentini, Douglas W. Woods, Lawrence Scahill, et al.

Category: P. Psychological. Keywords: Tourette’s, tic disorder, behavioral therapy, supportive therapy, children, randomized controlled trial, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 22 June 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.