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Low-dose botulinum toxin type A for the treatment of refractory piriformis syndrome



Low-dose botulinum toxin type A for the treatment of refractory piriformis syndrome



PharmacoTherapy 27(5): 657-665



Study Objectives. To evaluate the efficacy of a single, low-dose injection of botulinum toxin type A in relieving pain in Korean patients with piriformis syndrome resistant to conventional therapy, and to assess the drug's influence on these patients' quality of life.Design. Prospective, single-site, open-label trial. Setting. Rehabilitation medicine clinic in Seoul, Korea.Patients. Twenty-nine patients with a confirmed diagnosis of chronic piriformis syndrome and 82 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects were enrolled from April 1, 2003-February 28, 2004.Intervention. In 20 of the patients, botulinum toxin type A 150 U was injected using computed tomographic guidance into the affected unilateral piriformis muscle. The other nine patients served as active controls and received an injection of dexamethasone 5 mg and 1% lidocaine. The healthy subjects did not receive any injection.Measurements and Main Results. The patients' pain at baseline and at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatment was rated by using a numeric rating scale. Health-related quality of life was assessed by using the validated Korean version of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) at baseline and at 4 weeks of treatment. Healthy subjects also completed the SF-36 at baseline. Pain intensity scores were significantly lower at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatment than at baseline (p < 0.0001). Baseline scores from the SF-36 subscales, including those for physical functioning (p < 0.0001), role physical (p < 0.0001), bodily pain (p < 0.0001), general health (p < 0.0001), vitality (p < 0.0001), and social functioning (p < 0.002), were significantly lower in the patients than in the healthy subjects. Four weeks after treatment, physical functioning (p=0.003), role physical (p=0.021), bodily pain (p=0.016), general health (p=0.013), vitality (p=0.031) and social functioning (p=0.035) improved significantly from baseline in the patients. However, at 4 weeks, patients in the active control group were withdrawn from the study because their pain did not improve, and continuation without further medical care was considered unethical.Conclusion. A low dose of botulinum toxin type A relieved pain and improved quality of life in patients with refractory piriformis syndrome.

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Accession: 013753198

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17461700

DOI: 10.1592/phco.27.5.657



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