Neurobiology of the premonitory urge in Tourette’s syndrome: pathophysiology and treatment implications

Andrea E. Cavanna*, Kevin J. Black, Mark Hallett, Valerie Voon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motor and vocal tics are relatively common motor manifestations identified as the core features of Tourette’s syndrome (TS). Although traditional descriptions have focused on objective phenomenological observations, such as anatomical location, number and frequency of tics, patients’ first-person accounts have consistently reported characteristic subjective correlates. These sensory phenomena are often described as a feeling of mounting inner tension or urge to move (“premonitory urge”), which is transiently relieved by tic expression. This article reviews the existing literature on the clinical and neurobiological aspects of the premonitory urge in patients with TS, with focus on its pathophysiology and possible treatment implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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