The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) as an add-on treatment for TD.
A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial was conducted at an outpatient, single-center academic setting. A total of 62 patients aged 6-17 years with TD and lack of clinical response to 4 weeks’ pharmacotherapy were enrolled. Patients were divided randomly into 2 groups and given 4 weeks’ treatment, including 30 min sessions of active CES (500 μA-2 mA) or sham CES (lower than 100 μA) per day for 40 d on weekdays. Change in Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS), Clinical Global Impression-severity of illness-severity (CGI-S) and Hamilton Anxiety Scale-14 items (HAMA-14) were performed at baseline, week 2, week 4. Adverse events (AEs) were also evaluated.
53 patients (34 males and 9 females) completed the trial, including 29 in the active CES group and 24 in the sham CES group. Both groups showed clinical improvement in tic severities compared to baseline respectively at week 4. Participants receiving active CES showed a reduction of 31.66 % in YGTSS score, compared with 23.96 % in participants in sham CES group, resulting in no significant difference between the two groups (t = 1.54, p = 0.13).
Four-week’s treatment of CES for children and adolescents with TD is effective and safe, but the improvement for tic severity may be related to placebo effect.

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