View Full Version : Can Intuniv Help My Child's Worsening Tics?

10-21-15, 08:16 AM
First time poster.

My son is 11 1/2 years old. Some time around when he was 9 years old, he developed some tics. (He has been diagnosed with ADHD - around that same time.)

At first the tics were mild - basically he blinked a lot. Then, they got a little more noticeable. One was a throat clearing noise. Another, as strange as it seems, was doing "the finger" with both hands. They were all transitional. Eventually, he moved on, etc.

This year he started Middle School. It's been stressful and the tics have ramped up. First it was repeatedly sticking out his tongue. That was so bad that it was giving him a sore throat. While has yet to go away, others have joined the party. Pathological laughter was next. What was new there is that it almost had him in a catatonic state while doing it. Worst of all, now he has taking to hitting himself in the head, repeatedly.

We've avoided medication for fear of the side effects. But, his tics are now somewhat disabling. Having no choice, under a doctor's care, we are starting him with Intuniv.

If anyone has some experience with this type of situation and this course of treatment, any and all feedback you care share would be greatly appreciated.

10-30-15, 06:13 AM
Based on the fact that Intuniv is a sympathoplegic drug, I believe it will help.

Basically, anxiety leads to the fight or flight response (which activates the sympathetic nervous system [SNS]). Chronic stress/anxiety can have an accumulative effect when it comes to over-activation of the SNS. The opposing force to the SNS is the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS). A drug that is sympathoplegic reduces the activity of the SNS.

For myself, having lived with extreme anxiety and ADHD, I can't stress enough the benefit of breathing and mindfulness exercises.

Another psychiatric use of guanfacine is for treatment of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Guanfacine and other α2A agonists have anxiolytic-like action,[21] reducing sympathetic arousal in the emotional responses of the amygdala, and strengthen prefrontal cortical regulation of emotion, action and thought. Due to its prolonged half-life, it also has been seen to improve sleep interrupted by nightmares in PTSD patients.[22] All of these actions likely contribute to the relief of the hyperarousal, re-experiencing of memory, and impulsivity associated with PTSD.[23] However, a recent study showed no benefit for patients suffering from PTSD.[24]

According to recent studies (Srour et al., 2008)[full citation needed] there is controversy as to guanfacine’s usefulness in treating tics. There has been success when tic symptoms are co-morbid with ADHD, and as such, guanfacine and other α2A-adrenergic agonists (clonidine) are commonly the first choice for treatment.

10-30-15, 06:17 AM
The connection here is that nervous ticks are in fact a physical response to an over-stimulated SNS. Parkinson's Disease is in a similar ballpark.

Breathing exercises and mindfulness (a technique that helps us cope with stress better) are known to stimulate the PNS, which can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety if practiced regularly in conjunction with the GP managed plan.