Long-term treatment of cervical dystonia with botulinum toxin A: efficacy, safety, and antibody frequency
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Data from 616 patients suffering from idiopathic cervical dystonia were analyzed to determine the efficacy and safety of treatment with botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A). Since the specific purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of this treatment, the analysis focused specifically on the patients (n = 303) having received six or more injections. Statistical analysis of a standardized documentation showed sustained significant benefit as measured by a disease severity score independent of the type of cervical dystonia. Furthermore, pronounced individual differences were found in response to this treatment although initial clinical scores and doses of BoNT/A were similar. There was no indication of previously unknown adverse events, the only risk being the development of serum antibodies against the toxin. As in previous studies on short-term effects of BoNT/A treatment, the most frequent adverse event was dysphagia, which occurred on average 9.7 days after injection and lasted on average 3.5 weeks. While secondary nonresponse was seen in approx. 5% of patients, antibody tests revealed neutralizing serum antibodies in only 2%. On the basis of the present data, therapy of cervical dystonia with BoNT/A seems to be safe and yields good stable results even after 5 years of treatment.
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