Navigation Links
Antiviral Won't Improve Bell's Palsy Outcome

Cheap, standard treatment best against the facial paralysis, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The antiviral drug acyclovir is no better at easing a form of facial paralysis called Bell's palsy than traditional treatment, a new study finds.

The fact that acyclovir may not be a new, improved treatment option comes as bad news for patients, experts say, but on the other hand, many people afflicted with Bell's palsy do get better with the current regimen.

The study results suggest that these patients may not need to spend money on a second drug that's hardly cheap, noted Dr. Donald Gilden, chairman of the University of Colorado's department of neurology, in Denver.

The study "will likely change practice" by convincing doctors to avoid acyclovir when treating Bell's palsy, said Gilden, who co-authored a commentary accompanying the study findings, published in the Oct. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bell's palsy strikes up to 40 of every 100,000 people each year, often between ages 30 and 45. An estimated one in 60 people will be affected by the facial paralysis during their lifetime.

Patients typically have trouble moving some parts of their face, which can droop. "It paralyzes the muscles of facial expression affecting the muscles around the eye, so that the eyelids cannot be closed properly, and around the mouth so that smiling, speech and mouth closure are affected," explained study lead author Frank Sullivan, a researcher at the Scottish School of Primary Care in Dundee, Scotland.

The cause is unknown, although there's some suspicion that Bell's palsy may be connected to a viral infection caused by the same strain of herpes that causes cold sores. This infection can recur as shingles long after a chickenpox infection, Sullivan added.

Typically, Bell's palsy clears up on its own over time or after patients are treated with prednisolone, a steroid related to the more commonly known prednisone. Prednisolone stops the immune system from creating so much inflammation.

Still, some patients with Bell's palsy experience permanent facial disfigurement.

In the new study, the Scottish team looked at 496 Bell's palsy patients who were randomly assigned to receive 10 days of one of four treatment regimens: prednisolone; acyclovir; both drugs in combination; or a placebo.

Acyclovir (brand name Zovimax) is widely used to treat genital herpes. According to Gilden, a course of prednisolone costs about $10, compared to $200 for the antiviral drug.

After nine months, 94 percent of those who took prednisolone had recovered, compared to 85 percent of those who took acyclovir. Ninety-three percent of those who took both drugs got better.

Typically, 75 percent to 80 percent of those who take no drugs get better, lead author Sullivan said.

In essence, the study looks at whether patients with Bell's palsy should take antivirals in addition to the steroid, and the answer is that "you probably don't," Gilden said.

More information

Learn more about Bell's palsy from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: Donald Gilden, M.D., chairman, University of Colorado, Denver; Frank Sullivan, Ph.D., researcher, Scottish School of Primary Care, Dundee, U.K.; Oct. 18, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Roche Commits More Antiviral Pills To Asia For Bird Flu
2. New oral antiviral treatment of cold sores approved
3. Catechins in green tea show antiviral effect on influenza virus
4. Hepatitis B Relapse In Cancer Chemotherapy Can Be Avoided By Antiviral Drug
5. Antiviral Coating On Bank Notes, Photocopiers Could Help Check Epidemics
6. Antiviral Drugs May Be Useful For Easing Shingles Pain
7. Antiviral Drugs Curb Influenza Virus
8. Call For Bird Flu Antiviral Drugs To Be Shared
9. New Ribosome Finding Could Lead to Antiviral Therapies
10. Adding Milk to Black Tea Wont Ruin Its Antioxidant Effects
11. Hypertensive Drug Improves Sexual Dysfunction in Hypertensive Men
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... “While riding the bus, I ... Bronx, N.Y. “I thought there had to be a convenient and comfortable way to ... The PROTECTOR enables disabled individuals to safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care ... disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... philanthropic seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a ... have launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in 2012, ... adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the ... Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Genesis Chiropractic Software ... software creates an agreement between the practice owner and the patient that automatically ... notification, and projections. Click here to learn more. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Thanks to ... Dignity Health St. Mary,s Medical Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli ... breast imaging capabilities in San Francisco ... an anonymous friend, stepped forward with a gift of ... for Breast Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Colo. , Nov. 24, 2015  Array ... that its Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer ... Healthcare Conference in New York.  The public is ... webcast on the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual ... , Wednesday, December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HOUSTON, TX and VANCOUVER, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... EPI; NASDAQ: EPIX ) announced today that the ... clinical study of EPI-506 as a treatment for metastatic ... States and Canada.  --> ... --> In the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: