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Clin Med Res. 2007 Jun;5(2):132-8.

Botulinum toxin in poststroke spasticity.

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  • 1Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 16059 Bursa, Turkey. suheda@uludag.edu.tr


Poststroke hemiparesis, together with abnormal muscle tone, is a major cause of morbidity and disability. Although most hemiparetic patients are able to reach different ambulatory levels with rehabilitation efforts, upper and lower limb spasticity can impede activities of daily living, personal hygiene, ambulation and, in some cases, functional improvement. The goals of spasticity management include increasing mobility and range of motion, attaining better hygiene, improving splint wear and other functional activities. Conservative measures, such as positioning, stretching and exercise are essential in spasticity management, but alone often are inadequate to effectively control it. Oral antispastic medications often provide limited effects with short duration and frequent unwanted systemic side effects, such as weakness, sedation and dry mouth. Therefore, neuromuscular blockade by local injections have become the first choice for the treatment of focal spasticity, particularly in stroke patients. Botulinum toxin (BTX), being one of the most potent biological toxins, acts by blocking neuromuscular transmission via inhibiting acetylcholine release. Currently, focal spasticity is being treated successfully with BTX via injecting in the spastic muscles. Two antigenically distinct serotypes of BTX are available on the market as type A and B. Clinical studies of BTX used for spastic hemiplegic patients are reviewed in this article in two major categories, upper and lower limb applications. This review addresses efficacy in terms of outcome measures, such as muscle tone reduction and functional outcome, as well as safety issues. Application modifications of dose, dilutions, site of injections and combination therapies with BTX injections are also discussed.

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