Objectives: To evaluate the treatment effect of prednisolone and/or valaciclovir in Bells palsy patients with different baseline severity of palsy.
Design: Patient data were collected from the Scandinavian Bells Palsy Study, a prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-centre trial.
Setting: Sixteen otorhinolaryngological centres in Sweden and one in Finland.
Participants: Altogether, 829 patients aged 1875 years were treated within 72 h of palsy onset. Patients were randomly assigned to treatment with prednisolone plus placebo (n = 210), valaciclovir plus placebo (n = 207), prednisolone plus valaciclovir (n = 206), placebo plus placebo (n = 206). Follow-up was 12 months.
Main outcome measures: Facial function was assessed using the Sunnybrook grading scale at baseline and at 12 months. Complete recovery was defined as Sunnybrook score = 100.
Results: All patients, regardless of baseline severity, showed significantly higher complete recovery rates if treated with prednisolone compared with no prednisolone. In patients with severe palsy, recovery at 12 months was 51% with prednisolone treatment versus 31% without prednisolone (P = 0.02). Corresponding results were 68%versus 51% (P = 0.004) for moderate, and 83%versus 73% (P = 0.02) for mild palsy. In patient groups with moderate and mild palsy at baseline, significantly fewer prednisolone-treated patients had synkinesis at 12 months (P = 0.04 and P < 0.0001, respectively). For patients with severe palsy at baseline, prednisolone versus no prednisolone made no significant difference regarding synkinesis at 12 months. Valaciclovir did not add any significant effect to prednisolone regarding recovery rate or synkinesis at 12 months.
Conclusion: Prednisolone treatment resulted in higher complete recovery rates, regardless of severity at baseline. Prednisolone treatment should be considered in all patients irrespective of degree of palsy.
2012. Vol. 37, no 4, 283-290 p.