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J Neurol Sci. 2012 Jul 15;318(1-2):160-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2012.04.011. Epub 2012 May 4.

Successful response of non-recovering Ramsay Hunt syndrome to intravenous high dose methylprednisolone.

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Department of Neurological, Neurosurgical and Behavioural sciences, University of Siena, Italy.


Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS) is a frequent cause of facial palsy. It is a consequence of the infection of geniculate ganglion by herpes zoster or herpes simplex virus. In the lack of randomized controlled trials, RHS is empirically treated by a combination therapy of antiviral agents and steroids given orally. However, RHS has, per se, a poorer prognosis than idiopathic facial palsy (Bell's palsy). We describe a case series of two patients with RHS unsuccessfully treated with antiviral drugs and oral corticosteroids, showing an almost complete recovery after late administration of intravenous (i.v.) high dose methylprednisolone. Both patients had all recognized negative prognostic factors including age of onset, a high grade facial weakness, absence of R1 and R2 response at blink reflex test, and in the first case, the involvement of greater superficial petrosal nerve. We propose that i.v. high dose methylprednisolone should be considered, even as a late treatment option, in patients with RHS non recovering after standard antiviral and oral steroid therapy as well as presenting clinical features suggestive of a poor prognosis.

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