Comparison of weight gain in treatments for tourette syndrome: Tetrabenazine versus neuroleptic drugs

William G. Ondo, Daniel Jong, Anthony Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Weight gain occurs with most neuroleptic drugs used to treat tics. Tetrabenazine, a vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 inhibitor, inhibits dopamine release. It is used to treat a variety of hyperkinetic movement disorders, including tics. Weight gain over time was compared in a group of pediatric tic patients taking only tetrabenazine with an age-matched group of tic patients taking only neuroleptic drugs. Age in the tetrabenazine group (n = 36, 32 males) at initial therapy was 13.4 (SD 3.3) years. They were monitored for 25.2 (SD 12.3) months. The average dose of tetrabenazine (all visits) was 54.4 (SD 26.6) mg/d. In the neuroleptic group (n = 41, 33 males), the age at therapy onset was 12.3 × 4.0 years. They were monitored for 18.9 (SD 14.8) months. Weight increase was 0.8 lb/mo in the tetrabenazine group compared with 1.7 lb/mo in the neuroleptic group (P = .006). Most patients who switched from a neuroleptic drug to tetrabenazine subsequently lost weight. Although the study was not designed to compare efficacy, this tended to be greater with tetrabenazine than with neuroleptic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-437
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Neuroleptics
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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