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Use of levetiracetam to treat tics in children and adolescents with Tourette syndrome



Some drugs currently used to treat tics in pediatric patients have drawbacks, including the risk of side effects. New therapeutic options with better safety profiles are needed. Levetiracetam is an antiepileptic drug with atypical mechanisms of action that might be beneficial for this indication. We evaluated the effects of levetiracetam on motor and vocal tics, behavior, and school performance in children and adolescents with tics and Tourette syndrome (TS). Sixty patients, ≤18 years of age, with tics and TS were enrolled in this prospective, open-label study. The initial starting dose of levetiracetam was 250 mg/day. The dosage was titrated over 3 weeks to 1,000 to 2,000 mg/day. Clinical outcomes were assessed with the Clinical Global Impression Scale, Yale Global Tic Severity Scale, and Revised Conners' Parent Rating Scale. Behavior and school performance were also recorded. All 60 patients showed improvements based on all of the scales used, and 43 patients improved with regard to behavior and school performance. Levetiracetam was generally well tolerated. Three patients discontinued treatment because of exaggeration of preexisting behavioral problems. Levetiracetam may be useful in treating tics in children and adolescents. Given its established safety profile, levetiracetam is a candidate for evaluation in a well-controlled trial. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society