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Examining Behavior Therapy, Medication for Tics

Neurology; ePub 2017 Feb 15; Sukhodolsky, et al

Presence of co-occurring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or anxiety disorders did not moderate response to comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT), according to a recent study, which examined moderators and predictors of response to behavior therapy for tics in children and adults with Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorders. Although participants on tic medication showed improvement after CBIT, the difference between CBIT and psychoeducation and supportive therapy (PST) was greater for participants who were not on tic-suppressing medication. Data from 2 10-week, multisite studies (1 in children and 1 in adults; total n=248) comparing CBIT to PST were combined for moderator analyses. Researchers found:

  • The presence of tic medication significantly moderated response to CBIT vs PST.
  • Participants showed tic reduction after CBIT regardless of tic medication status, but only participants receiving tic medication showed reduction of tics after PST.
  • Co-occurring psychiatric disorders, age, sex, family functioning, tic characteristics, and treatment expectancy did not moderate response.


Sukhodolsky DG, Woods DW, Piacentini J, et al. Moderators and predictors of response to behavior therapy for tics in Tourette syndrome. [Published online ahead of print February 15, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000003710.