Complementary and alternative medicine use in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


The aim of this study was to describe the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) and explore associations with CAM use. In recent years CAM use has increased, but rates of CAM use in TS patients are not reported. Consecutive TS patients or their parent(s), seen in an academic movement disorder center, completed a questionnaire regarding their use of CAM. One hundred TS patients or parents completed the questionnaire, mean age 21.5 ± 13.5, 76 males, 87 Caucasians. Sixty four patients had used at least one CAM modality. CAM treatments used were prayer (28), vitamins (21), massage (19), dietary supplements (15), chiropractic manipulations (12), meditation (10), diet alterations (nine), yoga (nine), acupuncture (eight), hypnosis (seven), homeopathy (six), and EEG biofeedback (six). Fifty six percent of patients using CAM reported some improvement. Users paid out of pocket for 47% of treatments pursued, and 19% of these payers received partial reimbursement by third party payer. Users and non-users did not differ in age, gender, race, income, educational level, general health, tic severity, medication use for TS, current satisfaction from medications or experience of side effects from medications. CAM use was associated with the presence of affective disorder (P = 0.004), but not with either ADHD or OCD. Among CAM users, 80% initiated CAM without informing their doctor. CAM is commonly used in children and adults with TS, and often without the neurologist's knowledge. Physicians should inquire about CAM to understand the spectrum of interventions that patients with TS use. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society