European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, tics and Tourette’s syndrome: the relationship and treatment implications. A commentary

  • Mary M. Robertson*Email author


Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is now recognised to be a common childhood onset neurodevelopmental disorder. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also a common childhood disorder. There are many cases in which the two disorders are comorbid. The reasons for this are unclear, but the comorbidity does not necessarily point to one genetic cause. Sleep is also often disturbed in individuals with TS and ADHD. The treatment implications of ADHD in the setting of tics or TS are important. Clonidine is suggested as a first line treatment. It was once thought that stimulants were contraindicated in the treatment of ADHD in the setting of TS, whereas it is suggested that they may be safe, but should be used judiciously. In addition, it was once thought that the combination of stimulants and clonidine was contraindicated, but from a large study the combination does appear to be safe. A relatively new medication for ADHD is atomoxetine, and although not documented widely in the setting of tics and TS, it may prove useful in this setting; further research is required. This commentary briefly discusses the comorbidity between TS and ADHD and offers treatment suggestions.

Key words

Tourette’s syndrome tics attention deficit hyperactivity disorder comorbidity treatment 


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© Steinkopff Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Mental Health SciencesUniversity College London, 2nd Floor, Wolfson BuildingLondon W1W 7EYUK

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