Beta blockers for Tourette Syndrome?

Beta blockers are very effective for — and are the first-line treatment for — a movement disorder known as Essential Tremor, or ET. While ET and Tourette Syndrome are both common neurological conditions, they have distinct characteristics and treatment also varies greatly.

ET typically affects older people, while TS initially affects younger people in most cases, and the movements associated with tremors are vastly different from the premonitory tics that define Tourette Syndrome. So while beta blockers have been demonstrated to significantly improve symptoms of ET, no such evidence has emerged suggesting that they reduce tic frequency or severity.

Instead, the newest Canadian Clinical Guidelines recommends a number of other medications, such as haloperidol — an antipsychotic — for children, and tetrabenazine for adults. It should be noted that the guidelines strongly recommend nonpharmacological treatments for TS, including Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

The new guidelines will be made available to the public later this year through the TSFC.


  1. What are beta blockers exactly? This blog doesn’t really say. Poorly written, if you ask me.

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