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What Is Pimozide Used For?

Pimozide is a drug taken one or more times a day to control motor and verbal tics caused by Tourette syndrome. As an antipsychotic medication, pimozide is used when other medications do not work adequately or cannot be taken. It works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain, and is approved for use in adults and children as young as 12 years old.

An Overview of Uses for Pimozide

Pimozide (Orap®) is a prescription medication approved to suppress the motor and verbal tics associated with Tourette syndrome. It belongs to a class of drugs known as antipsychotic medications.
Tourette syndrome is a neurologic disorder characterized by frequent, repetitive, and involuntary movements and vocalizations known as tics. The tics normally begin in early childhood, well before the age of 18. The earliest tics often affect the head and neck regions. Symptoms will then often progress to include muscles of the trunk and extremities (arms and legs). Some of the more common tics a person with Tourette syndrome experiences include:
  • Eye blinking
  • Facial grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Head or shoulder jerking
  • Grunting sounds.
(Click Tourette Syndrome Symptoms for more information about verbal and motor tics associated with this condition.)
The symptoms of Tourette syndrome can vary from person to person, and range from mild to severe. Most people with this condition experience mild symptoms that do not require treatment with medication. However, when tics are severe and interfere with development or daily functioning, such as work, school, or daily activities, medication may be necessary.
Pimozide is one of several medicines that may be used to treat the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. It is not considered a first-line treatment, however, which means it is reserved for use in people who have failed or cannot tolerate other medications. Normally, pimozide is used in people who have already tried another antipsychotic called haloperidol (Haldol®).
Like other antipsychotics, pimozide is associated with potentially serious side effects. Before a decision is made to use medication, the benefits of use must be weighed against these side effects. Pimozide is only approved for use in people who have tics that are severe enough to significantly interfere with daily functioning.
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Pimozide Drug Information

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