Background. The treatment of Tourette's syndrome
(TS) is often unsatisfactory. However, there is some evidence that
transdermal nicotine patch (TNP) application may improve tics of
non-smoking TS patients who are refractory to haloperidol
Methods. In this open study we applied two 10 mg TNP for 2
consecutive days to four TS patients whose symptoms were not
controlled by haloperidol and to a never-medicated TS patient, all of
whom are non-smokers. The Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) and a
quantified video-taped micro-structured analysis of tics (head-shake
tics, eye-blinks, vocal tics, facial grimace and other body tics) were
both carried out to assess the change after the application of TNP.
Results. TNP application significantly reduced the YGTSS
by an average of 50%, with no reported side-effects, for up to 4 weeks
but not 16 weeks, as compared with TNP-free period. Consistent with
these results, the total counts of tics also showed a significant
decrease for up to 4 weeks after the TNP application.
Conclusion. TNP application differentially affected
individually quantified tics, which may suggest a differential role of
nicotinic receptors in the generation of different tics.