Repetitive behaviours in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: tics, compulsions, or both?

Worbe, Yulia; Mallet, Luc; Golmard, Jean-Louis; Béhar, Cécile; Durif, Franck; Jalenques, Isabelle; Damier, Philippe; Derkinderen, Pascal; Pollak, Pierre; Anheim, Mathieu; Broussolle, Emannuel; Xie, Jing; Mesnage, Valérie; Mondon, Karl; Viallet, François; Jedynak, Pierre; Ben Djebara, Mouna; Schüpbach, Michael; Pelissolo, Antoine; Vidailhet, Marie; ... (2010). Repetitive behaviours in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: tics, compulsions, or both? PLoS ONE, 5(9), e12959. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0012959

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Repetitive behaviours (RB) in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) are frequent. However, a controversy persists whether they are manifestations of obssessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or correspond to complex tics.

166 consecutive patients with GTS aged 15–68 years were recruited and submitted to extensive neurological, psychiatric and psychological evaluations. RB were evaluated by the YBOCS symptom checklist and Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I), and classified on the basis of a semi-directive psychiatric interview as compulsions or tics.

RB were present in 64.4% of patients with GTS (107/166) and categorised into 3 major groups: a ‘tic-like’ group (24.3%–40/166) characterised by RB such as touching, counting, ‘just right’ and symmetry searching; an ‘OCD-like’ group (20.5%–34/166) with washing and checking rituals; and a ‘mixed’ group (13.2%–22/166) with both ‘tics-like’ and ‘OCD-like’ types of RB present in the same patient. In 6.3% of patients, RB could not be classified into any of these groups and were thus considered ‘undetermined’.

The results confirm the phenomenological heterogeneity of RB in GTS patients and allows to distinguish two types: tic-like behaviours which are very likely an integral part of GTS; and OCD-like behaviours, which can be considered as a comorbid condition of GTS and were correlated with higher score of complex tics, neuroleptic and SSRIs treatment frequency and less successful socio-professional adaptation. We suggest that a meticulous semiological analysis of RB in GTS patients will help to tailor treatment and allow to better classify patients for future pathophysiologic studies.
Trial Registration NCT00169351

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Schüpbach, Michael




Public Library of Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:14

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:




URI: (FactScience: 207062)

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