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Behavior therapy effective in reducing tics in children with Tourette syndrome, study finds
Date:5/18/2010

roblems, difficulties in school, work and social functioning, and, in severe cases, can be disabling.

"Historically, Tourette syndrome has been treated with antipsychotic medications, which reduce tics but are associated with side effects that often limit their usefulness in children. So the development of an effective non-medication treatment for children with this disorder is a major therapeutic advance," he said.

CBIT is built on the observation that tics are preceded by unwanted feelings or sensations which in turn are temporarily relieved by the tics. In this treatment, children learned to recognize when a tic was about to occur and to engage in a voluntary action incompatible with the tic until the unwanted sensation passed.

In addition, parents were taught how to promote these management strategies in their children and to minimize stressful situations in their children's environments associated with tic worsening.

In the multisite study, 126 children between the ages of 9 and 17 with moderate to severe Tourette syndrome or Chronic Tic Disorder were randomly assigned to CBIT or to a supportive counseling and education program about Tourette syndrome. Approximately one-third of the children entered the study on a stable dose of anti-tic medication.

The study showed that CBIT resulted in a significantly greater reduction in tic severity and tic-related problems than the supportive counseling. Almost 53 percent of children receiving CBIT were rated as significantly improved, compared with 19 percent of those receiving the comparison treatment.

The degree of improvement with CBIT was similar to that found in recent anti-tic medication studies. Benefits were observed in both children who were on a tic medication and children not on medication. Adverse treatment effects, including tic worsening, were rare in both CBIT and supportive counseling. Treatment gains for CBIT were maintained over time
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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