Persistent Tics


"Help! My eight-year-old son developed a severe tic after he started taking a stimulant. He stopped taking it two months ago, but the tic hasn’t gone away."

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Tics brought on by medication typically go away within days or weeks of stopping the med. Since your son’s tic has persisted, there’s a chance that he was predisposed to tics and that the problem may never go away. Ask your son’s doctor about giving him clonidine (Catapres), risperidone (Risperdal), or guanfacine (Tenex), each of which has been shown to ease tics. I’d keep a child on meds for a month or so after the tics have faded. If the tic returns, the medication can be taken for a longer time.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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