Can Botox Reduce Chronic Neuropathic Pain?

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Findings in small study of patients with spinal cord injury-associated pain.
Findings in small study of patients with spinal cord injury-associated pain.

HealthDay News -- Subcutaneous botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injections appear to safely and effectively reduce chronic neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury, according to a study published in the Annals of Neurology.

Zee-A Han, MD, PhD, from the National Rehabilitation Center in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues evaluated a one-time subcutaneous BTX-A (200 units) injection in 40 patients with spinal cord injury-associated neuropathic pain. Pain and quality of life assessments were made before treatment and at four weeks and eight weeks after the injection.

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The researchers found that among the responders in the BTX-A group at four and eight weeks after injection, 55% and 45%, respectively, reported pain relief of 20% or greater. By comparison, only 15 percent and 10 percent of the responders in the placebo group reported a similar level of pain relief. Pain relief was tied to preservation of motor or sensory function below the neurological level of injury. For the physical health domain of the WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment, improvements in the BTX-A group showed a marginal trend toward significance at four weeks after the injection.

"These results indicate that BTX-A may reduce intractable chronic neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury," the authors wrote.

Medytox, a maker of botulinum toxin products, supported the study.

Reference

Zee-A H, Song DH, Hyun-Mi O, Chung ME, et al. Botulinum Toxin Type A for NeuropathicPain in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury. Ann. Neurol. 2016. doi:10.1002/ana.24605.

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