A D1 receptor antagonist, ecopipam, for treatment of tics in tourette syndrome

Donald L. Gilbert, Cathy L. Budman, Harvey S. Singer, Roger Kurlan, Richard E. Chipkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Dysregulation of dopaminergic signaling has been hypothesized to underlie the motor and phonic tics in Tourette syndrome (TS). The objective of this trial was to evaluate the safety and tic-reducing activity of the selective dopamine D1 receptor antagonist ecopipam in adults with TS. METHODS: This was a multicenter, nonrandomized, open-label study of 50-mg ecopipam daily (weeks 1-2) and then 100 mg daily (weeks 3-8), taken orally before bedtime. The primary efficacy end point was the change in the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) total tic score. Comorbid psychiatric symptoms and premonitory urges were rated; weight, serum metabolic studies, and adverse effects were monitored. RESULTS: Eighteen adults (15 men; 15 white, 2 African American, 1 Asian), with a mean age of 36.2 years (range, 18-63 years), were enrolled, and 15 completed the study. Mean (SD) YGTSS Total Tic score was 30.6 (8.8) at baseline and 25.3 (9.2) at 8 weeks (2-tailed paired t17 = 4.4; P = 0.0004). Mean (SD) YGTSS impairment score was 29.7 (10.9) at baseline and 22.8 (13.7) at final visit (t17 = 2.2; P = 0.04). There was no significant change in premonitory urges or psychiatric symptoms. Mean change in weight was-0.7 kg (P = 0.07). The most commonly reported adverse events were sedation (39%), fatigue (33%), insomnia (33%), somnolence (28%), anxiety (22%), headache (22%), and muscle twitching (22%). CONCLUSIONS: In this open-label study in adults with TS, tics were reduced after 8 weeks of treatment with ecopipam. To confirm safety and efficacy, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trials are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalClinical neuropharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • D1 receptor
  • Tourette syndrome
  • clinical trial
  • dopamine
  • ecopipam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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