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Paroxetine Treatment of Episodic Rages Associated With Tourette's Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(11):581-584

Background: Episodic rages have been estimated to occur in as many as 30% of patients with Tourette's syndrome (Tourette's disorder), but their treatment has never been systematically investigated. We report on the results of an open-label pilot study using paroxetine for the treatment of Tourette's disorderÐassociated rage episodes.

Method: Forty-five Tourette's/rage patients (DSM-IV) were treated with paroxetine, specifically to control their rages. Other symptoms such as tics, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were not targeted by this study. Treatment was deemed to be therapeutic when rage symptoms were diminished by 75% or more by patient report and were diminished in frequency by at least 1 point on a 4-point scale devised by the authors.

Results: After 8 weeks on paroxetine treatment, 29 patients (76% of those who completed the study) reported that rages were significantly diminished or completely absent. Nine patients reported no significant change in rages. Seven patients did not complete the study (3 because of side effects and 4 whose rage frequency increased). The mean dose of paroxetine was 33 mg/day; minimum effective dose was 15 mg/day.

Conclusion: We were unable to determine any factors that significantly altered the efficacy of paroxetine for treatment of Tourette's disorderÐassociated rage episodes. The great majority (87%) of the patients had both ADHD and OCD in addition to Tourette's disorder. The age, sex, and concomitant use of other medications revealed no significant differences in treatment outcome. The results suggest that paroxetine may have an important role in the clinical treatment of episodic rages in Tourette's disorder patients.