Botulinum toxin type A in the treatment of upper extremity spasticity: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

D M Simpson, D N Alexander, C F O'Brien, M Tagliati, A S Aswad, J M Leon, J Gibson, J M Mordaunt, E P Monaghan
Neurology 1996, 46 (5): 1306-10
Spasticity is a disorder of excess muscle tone associated with CNS disease. We hypothesized that botulinum toxin, a neuromuscular blocking agent, would reduce tone in spastic muscles after stroke. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of botulinum toxin type A (BTXA) in the treatment of chronic upper limb spasticity after stroke. Thirty-nine patients received IM injections of a total dose of either 75, 150, or 300 units of BTXA or placebo into the biceps, flexor carpi radialis, and flexor carpi ulnaris muscles. At baseline, patients demonstrated a mean wrist flexor tone of 2.9 and elbow flexor tone of 2.6 on the Ashworth Scale (0 to 4). Treatment with the 300-unit BTXA dose resulted in a statistically and clinically significant mean decrease in wrist flexor tone of 1.2 (p = 0.028), 1.1 (p = 0.044), and 1.2 (p = 0.026) points and elbow flexor tone of 1.2 (p = 0.024), 1.2 (p = 0.028), and 1.1 (p = 0.199) at weeks 2, 4, and 6 postinjection. In the placebo group, tone reduction at the wrist was 0.3, 0.2, and 0.0 and at the elbow was 0.3, 0.3, and 0.6 at weeks 2, 4, and 6 postinjection. BTXA groups reported significant improvement on the physician and patient Global Assessment of Response to Treatment at weeks 4 and 6 postinjection. There were no serious adverse effects. In this 3-month study, BTXA safely reduced upper extremity muscle tone in patients with chronic spasticity after stroke.

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