A new guideline for treating Tourette syndrome and other chronic tic disorders emphasizes the importance of accurate diagnosis and ongoing assessment, and it states there are effective treatments available that could help improve symptoms. Michael Okun, M.D., UF chair of neurology, was among the authors of the new American Academy of Neurology guideline published today in the journal Neurology.
The guideline — endorsed by the Child Neurology Society and the European Academy of Neurology — states that treatments including holistic care, behavioral strategies and medications based on the latest scientific evidence could help improve management of tics, which are repetitive movements and vocalizations. Experiencing tics is common in Tourette syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood.
In some cases, an acceptable management strategy may be watching and waiting along with providing education to help someone understand and cope with the disorder. The guideline recommends that doctors inform children and their caregivers that there is a good chance symptoms will improve in late adolescence. If symptoms affect daily life, the guideline recommends first considering Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT, which combines relaxation training, habit-reversal training and behavioral therapy to help reduce tic symptoms.