Botulinum toxin for tics and Tourette's syndrome

Insufficient evidence – there either hasn’t been any research on this treatment option or there is a small amount of evidence with unclear conclusions.

Botulinum toxin is a chemical which is injected and causes temporary muscle paralysis. There is some evidence that botulinum toxin injections can help with persistent and well-localised motor and, sometimes, vocal tics by temporarily weakening the specific muscles involved. The effect of the injection usually lasts 3 to 4 months, but can last up to 6 months. Some people also experience reactions including temporary soreness and mild muscle weakness.

This treatment can only be offered by a neurologist who specialises in treatment with botulinum toxin. It is not usually offered as a treatment for tics in Tourette’s syndrome and would not be suggested for young children.

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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