How are obsessive-compulsive symptoms treated in Tourette syndrome (TS) and other tic disorders?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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Initial treatment of OCD in patients with tics usually consists of an SSRI, generally at 3-4 times the antidepressant dose. More recently, risperidone monotherapy has been advocated as a first treatment, especially in patients with significant impairment from tics and from OCD symptoms.

Behavior therapy for OCD (eg, exposure and response prevention) is clearly proven to be effective. [202] A trial of behavior therapy is indicated for every patient with clinically significant OCD symptoms unless the symptoms are substantially remitted by another intervention.

In patients with tics (and perhaps in their relatives), obsessions respond better to fluoxetine plus haloperidol than to fluoxetine plus placebo. [203] Therefore, even if tics are well-controlled, addition of a D2 antagonist is indicated if bothersome OCD symptoms do not respond adequately to conventional initial treatment.

In a highly select group of patients who fit research criteria for sudden onset of tics or OCD associated with a proven recent streptococcal infection, OCD responded dramatically to intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIG) or plasmapheresis. [126]

See the article Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or the 2003 review by Miguel and colleagues [204] for further details of OCD treatment.

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