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Br J Gen Pract. 1996 Dec;46(413):743-7.

The clinical problem of Bell's palsy: is treatment with steroids effective?

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  • 1Primary Medical Care Group, School of Medicine, Southampton University.


A general practitioner can expect to see a case of Bell's palsy once every two years. Though uncommon, it has aroused controversy over its definition, its aetiology, and the best treatment. Although the majority of cases of this dramatic but usually self-limiting condition are seen in primary care, most of the literature comes from hospital studies. The evidence from four randomized controlled studies shows marginal benefit for steroids with a Mantel-Haenzel odd's ratio of 1.63 (95% CI 1.01 to 2.64); but, because of doubt about the methodology in some of the studies, this result must be interpreted with caution.

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