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:6/27/2016)... ... , ... recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Best Buy Eyeglasses, ... the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered to be a purely functional ... a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a way of creating an iconic ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a Media Slicing ... their videos a whole new perspective by using the title layers in ProSlice ... , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. FCPX ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported ... head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest ... in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... of the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, ... Photovoltaics Structural electronics involves electronic ... load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such as ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... markets and sells medical devices and wearable sleep respiratory ... strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management Co., ... June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet medical ... Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: