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Guanfacine treatment of comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette's syndrome: preliminary clinical experience.

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Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; USA.



Many children with Tourette's syndrome (TS) are handicapped more by difficulties with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity than by their tics. However, stimulant medications used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can exacerbate tics. Guanfacine is an alpha 2-adrenergic agonist that may have beneficial effects on attention, without the hypotensive or sedative effects of clonidine, which is often used as an alternative to stimulants.


An open-label study of guanfacine was performed in 10 children with TS+ADHD, aged 8 to 16 years. The duration of follow-up was 4 to 20 weeks, and the majority of subjects were treated with 1.5 mg/day. Ratings of tic severity and ADHD symptoms were obtained using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS), the Tic Symptom Self Report (TSSR), and the Conners Parent Rating Scale. In addition, blind Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs) were performed at baseline and at two follow-up intervals in eight subjects.


Guanfacine was associated with significant decreases in both commission errors (p < .02) and omission errors (p < .01) on the CPT. In addition, guanfacine caused a significant decrease in severity of motor (p < .02) and phonic (p < .02) tics as measured by the TSSR and the YGTSS, respectively. The most common side effects were transient sedation and headaches.


Guanfacine may provide a safe alternative therapy for children with ADHD in the presence of tics. Future double-blind, controlled trials should be undertaken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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