, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 107-112

Influence of early high-dose steroid treatment on Bell's palsy evolution

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The objective of this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was to test the efficacy of high-dose prednisone, administered as early as possible, in modifying the natural progression of Bell's palsy. Sixty-two consecutive patients, enrolled within 72 hours of facial palsy onset, were assigned to high dose intravenous prednisone in combination with intramuscular polyvitaminic therapy (group A) or polyvitaminic therapy alone (group B). Clinical grading of facial muscle strength and length of absence from work were evaluated. An early worsening of facial muscle strength was observed in controls, leading to the divergence in the trends of the grading scores in the two groups; this result was not confirmed in the long-term follow-up. Treated patients returned to work earlier than controls. In conclusion, early treatment based on high-dose corticosteroids slightly accelerates spontaneous improvement in Bell's palsy.

Received: 17 January 2002 / Accepted in revised form: 20 May 2002
Correspondence to G. Lagalla