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Tourette Syndrome: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Tourette syndrome is a medical condition of the nervous system which forces people to make sudden sounds or movements called tics. Sadly, patients suffering from tourette syndrome cannot control this behaviour. Some people who are affected by this syndrome continuously clear their throat or blink over and over again. They can also suddenly blurt out certain words which they had no intention in saying. There are a lot of treatments to control tics, but if it is not very severe and doesn’t bother the patient, they really don’t require treatment. For some people this disorder generally starts in childhood and begins to disappear as they grow up. However, it can be really bothersome and embarrassing for people who still have full blown tourette syndrome in their adulthood. There is an area in the brain called basal ganglia that helps to control body movement, differences in the basal ganglia can cause tourette syndrome.

Tics are not that serious and can be treated using certain medications like pimozide (Orap), fluphenazine (Prolixin), Haloperidol (Haldol), Clonidine (Catapres), high blood pressure medicines and antidepressants. The main symptom of tourette syndrome is sudden tics. They are generally of two types, one of them is called Motor tics which is characterized by continuous blinking, making a face, mouth twitching, shoulder shrugging and head jerking. The other type is known as vocal tics, where the patient barks, clears their throat or yelps continuously. Shouting, sniffing and swearing can also be characteristics of vocal tics.

How is the treatment done?

The most common treatment of tics include consuming dopamine medicines. Dopamine is a natural substance in the body, imbalance of this substance can give rise to tics, resulting to a full blown tourette syndrome. These dopamine medicines work its magic by improving the blood flow to your kidney and pumping action of the heart. Dopamine injections are also used to treat conditions like low blood pressure due to kidney failure, heart failure, trauma, surgery or heart attack. Before opting for dopamine medication, it is important to discuss with your doctor if you have a history of blood clots, sulphite allergies, asthma, buerger’s disease, frostbite, diabetes, blood circulation problems or hardened arteries. The dopamine injection is usually injected through an IV. After you receive the injection, your kidney functions, oxygen levels, blood pressure and breathing will be closely monitored by the doctor.

During the dopamine medication therapy, it is important to visit your doctor for follow ups after fixed intervals so that no harmful effects are caused in your body. Your kidney function and blood cells are often checked during this treatment. It is vital to receive treatment and care if you are suffering from tourette syndrome, because it can also cause problems like anxiety, learning disabilities and OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder).

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you have tourette syndrome and cannot perform your daily activities properly, it is important to receive this treatment. Patients who have low blood pressure are also perfect candidates for receiving dopamine medicines.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

However, dopamine medicines should only be used after consulting a physician. If you have had blood clot problems, diabetes, Raynaud’s syndrome, coronary artery disease, asthma or sulphite allergy, dopamine medicines may not be ideal for you and can also prove fatal. The effects of dopamine on pregnant or nursing women is not known, therefore consulting a doctor in such cases is of utmost importance.

Are there any side effects?

Dopamine can have certain side effects such as headache, feeling anxious, vomiting, nausea, chills and goose-bumps. However, if you experience serious side effects, that may mean you are allergic to the dopamine medicine or your body is not reacting properly to it. These side effects include, pain, burning, inflammation, shallow breathing, blood in urine, painful urination, fast or slow pounding heartbeats and chest pain. In such extreme cases, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The treatment usually starts with a diagnosis of the patient’s brain. The doctor may perform a CT scan or an MRI after which he can also ask questions to evaluate your brain functioning. After the tourette syndrome is diagnosed, you can be put on to dopamine medication. After the treatment is over, it is vital to take habit-reversal training to eliminate tics completely. You can also get support from your family and friends, stay active, exercise, mediate regularly and educate yourself about tourette syndrome.

How long does it take to recover?

Tourette syndrome cannot be cured completely but by continuing dopamine medicines, it does reduce temporarily.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of dopamine medicines in India is approximately Rs.30 to Rs.750.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Usually children have tics when they are small, as they reach their late teens or early adulthood, these symptoms totally disappear. However, some people experience tics caused by tourette syndrome for the rest of their lives, but they symptoms generally reduce as they get older.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

In severe cases, deep brain stimulation surgery can be used. However this procedure is very invasive and can only be used in extreme cases. This procedure is generally performed in rare cases if the doctor thinks you are eligible for it. Other than dopamine medicines, alternative treatments like high blood pressure drugs, anti-depressants and psychological therapy can help to control the symptoms of tourette syndrome for the time being.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am diagnosed with tourette syndrome finally after 19 years of continuous medication. The doctor prescribed me risperidone 2 mg, aripiprazole 15 mg and zoldem/zolp 20 mg. But this medication has caused me insomnia. Initially I used to lay down whole night but no sleep. I get only 3 to 4 hours sleep now. My question is can I replace zoldem with serenace/haldol 5 mg?

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
Insomnia can happen due to many reasons. The most common reason is stress or illness. Temporary stress due to changes in job, relationships, death of a loved one, or moving to a new place. If you feel like it is due to medication, you should discu...

Mam I want to ask what is tourette syndrome can you tell me something about that.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear lybrate-user. Thanks for the question. Tourette's syndrome starts in childhood. It involves uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics), such as repeatedly blinking the eyes, shrugging shoulders or blurting out offensive wor...

My son suffering from Tourette syndrome. I heard that there is no treatment for this Motor and Vocal Tics Disorder. Is it true. Please help.

General Physician, Mumbai
There is no permanent treatment for curing Tourette syndrome but treatment with medication might be helpful.

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