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Health Beat: New Tourette's treatment quiets tics

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 06 2013 01:03:18 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 06 2013 04:49:29 PM CST

Blinking and grunting are just some of the uncontrollable twitches and sounds kids with Tourette’s make.

CHICAGO -

Blinking and grunting are just some of the uncontrollable twitches and sounds kids with Tourette’s make.

The involuntary movements and vocalizations can impact a child’s ability to learn and socialize at school. Now, a new investigational drug could help. 

Henry D'Alessio got his first guitar four years ago.

"My neck kept going back and forth," he said.

"These movements were so intense and there were so many of them, if you were stopped at a stop light, the car would actually move," said Darinka D'Alessio, Henry's mom.

Henry takes medication to help control it, but it's also caused him to gain 60 pounds in two years. It's a common side effect of current medications.

"Side effects can include a lot of weight gain and sometimes the emergence of other involuntary movements and sometimes cardiac problems, sleepiness, and fatigue," said Dr. Katie Kompoliti, associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center.

Now, a new investigational drug used to treat schizophrenia and depression could treat the disorder with fewer side effects.

"It's going to work for tics because it blocks dopamine," Kompoliti said.

It's the first Tourette’s drug available in pill form.

"Nobody likes to get shots," Kompoliti said.

Henry has to remember to take his medicine twice a day.

"It would make life a lot easier because I wouldn’t have to keep track of that all the time," Henry said.

Instead, he would have more time to make music.

The phase III trial is currently recruiting kids with Tourette’s in 100 centers around the world.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary

DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Katie Kompoliti about a new treatment for Tourette's syndrome.