Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin for the treatment of wrist and finger spasticity after stroke

A W Jahangir, H J Tan, M I Norlinah, W Y Nafisah, S Ramesh, B B Hamidon, A A Raymond
Medical Journal of Malaysia 2007, 62 (4): 319-22
Botulinum toxin is effective in reducing spasticity post stroke. As there are limited data on post stroke spasticity in Asia, we undertake this study to determine the effectiveness and safety of intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin type-A (BTX-A), in the treatment of chronic focal post-stroke hand spasticity, and the impact of BTX-A on the activities of daily living and quality of life, in comparison to placebo, in Malaysian stroke patients. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy and safety of BTX-A in 27 subjects with wrist and finger spasticity after a stroke. The outcome measures were assessed with the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) to assess spasticity of the flexor muscles, Barthel Index (BI) for activities of daily living and EQ-5D and EQ VAS for quality of life. Assessments were performed at baseline and 1 and 3 months after injection. Compared to placebo, the BTX-A group had greater improvement in the flexor tone of the wrist and fingers (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively), at first month follow-up visit and sustained the improvement through to three months. Although there was an improvement in the measures of global function and quality of life in the BTX-A group, there was no significant improvement in between the two groups. No serious BTX-A related adverse effects were reported. The results of this study demonstrate that intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin A is safe and effective in the treatment of chronic focal post-stroke spasticity of the hand.

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