Aripiprazole is an atypical neuroleptic with agonistic and antagonistic dopaminergic and serotonergic effects. Because preliminary data obtained from uncontrolled studies suggest that aripiprazole may be effective in the treatment of tics, we performed a retrospective study with a large group of patients with Tourette syndrome.
One hundred patients (78 men and 22 women; mean ± SD age, 27.1 years (± 11.5) years) who had been treated with daily doses of 5 to 45 mg (mean, 17.0 ± 9.6 mg) aripiprazole at our specialized Tourette syndrome outpatient clinic were included. Ninety-five patients with insufficient pretreatment (one or more neuroleptics) were switched to aripiprazole.
Eighty-two patients exhibited a considerable reduction in tic severity. In 48 patients, effective treatment lasted for more than 12 months. Five patients reported additional beneficial effects on behavioral comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and autoaggression. Altogether, 31 patients (31%) dropped out of the treatment owing to inefficacy (n = 7), adverse effects (n = 15: drowsiness, agitation, weight gain, and sleep disturbances), both (n = 4) or other reasons (n = 5).
This is the largest case series on the treatment of tics with aripiprazole so far. Overall, our results corroborate previous data suggesting that aripiprazole is effective and safe in most patients. In particular, our data confirm effectiveness in adult patients and clarify that beneficial effects sustain. However, in contrast to previous data, in 1 of 3 of our highly selected patients, aripiprazole was ineffective or not well tolerated. Optimal dose seems to be individually different and may range from 5 to 45 mg.