Guideline: Steroid pills effective for treating facial paralysis in Bell's palsy

November 7, 2012

For people experiencing first-time symptoms of Bell's palsy, steroid pills very likely are the most effective known treatment for recovering full strength in the facial muscles, according to a guideline published in the November 7, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Bell's palsy is a nerve disorder that affects muscle movement in the face and usually leaves half of the face temporarily paralyzed.

"Although most cases of Bell's palsy resolve without treatment, about 15 percent of those affected never fully recover muscle strength. There are now several well-designed studies that show these treatments can increase the chances of a good recovery in such cases," said study author Gary Gronseth, MD, with the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

Short-term use of steroids was safe and tolerable in the research. People who are obese, have uncontrolled diabetes, or cannot tolerate steroids might be at higher risk for complications with steroid use.

According to the guideline, antiviral therapy alone was not shown to increase the chance of recovering full muscle strength in the face. In addition, the guideline suggests that adding to steroid treatment does not strongly increase the chance of a full facial recovery from paralysis in people experiencing Bell's palsy, but that there is a slight chance it may have a marginal effect on symptoms.

"Because of the possibility of modest recovery with combination treatment, people might be offered both steroid pills and antiviral medications," said Gronseth. "However, they should be aware that the benefit of adding antivirals to is likely slight."

Explore further: Research examines effect of prednisolone in patients with Bell palsy

Related Stories

Research examines effect of prednisolone in patients with Bell palsy

May 21, 2012
Treatment for Bell palsy (a condition involving the facial nerve and characterized by facial paralysis) with the corticosteroid prednisolone within 72 hours appeared to significantly reduce the number of patients with mild ...

Recommended for you

'Residual echo' of ancient humans in scans may hold clues to mental disorders

July 26, 2017
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a "residual echo" from our ancient past. The more ...

Laser used to reawaken lost memories in mice with Alzheimer's disease

July 26, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at Columbia University has found that applying a laser to the part of a mouse brain used for memory storage caused the mice to recall memories lost due to a mouse version of Alzheimer's ...

Cellular roots of anxiety identified

July 26, 2017
From students stressing over exams to workers facing possible layoffs, worrying about the future is a normal and universal experience. But when people's anticipation of bad things to come starts interfering with daily life, ...

Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds

July 25, 2017
Just as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills can benefit from multiple ways of exercising the brain, according to a comprehensive new study from University of Illinois ...

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

July 25, 2017
Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.