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December 1980

Clonidine Ameliorates Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Child Study Center (Drs Cohen and Young and Ms Detlor) and the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Cohen, Young, and Shaywitz), Psychiatry (Drs Cohen and Young), Psychology (Dr Cohen), and Neurology (Dr Shaywitz), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(12):1350-1357. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780250036004

• Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS) is a severe, familial neuropsychiatric disorder of childhood onset that is characterized by multiform motor, phonic, behavioral, and psychological symptoms. Clonidine hydrochloride, a centrally active α-adrenergic agonist, was observed to ameliorate the disorder in the majority of 25 patients who could not tolerate or did not benefit from treatment with haloperidol. Clonidine had a gradual onset of action. Compulsive behavior, frustration intolerance, speech difficulties, behavioral blocking, attentional problems, and tics were responsive to treatment. The noradrenergic system may be involved, primarily or secondarily, in the expression of the genetic predisposition to TS. These observations will require testing by suitably controlled efficacy studies.