Effects of botulinum toxin type A on spasticity and hand function

Authors: Marius-Nicolae Popescu, Simona Săvulescu, Luminiţa Dumitru, Horaţiu Dinu, Matei Teodorescu, Edis Mustafa, Mihai Berteanu

Affiliation: “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Bucharest; Medical Rehabilitation Department of the Elias Emergency University Hospital, Romania


Background. Spasticity is well known as one of the most common after stroke complications, providing a series of nega­tive effects including decreased range of motion, muscle spasm, different levels of contracture, local pain in the affected area.

Aims. Clinical-functional evaluation of the short and medium term effect of ultrasonographically guided injections with botulinum toxin type A (TxB-A) on the spasticity of the upper limb in post-stroke patients and the quantification of effects on international scales of spasticity and functionality.

Methods. The groups studied were composed of 60 patients, which were divided based on the doses provided in each muscle of the hand and wrist flexors (250 IU versus 333 IU). Every patient received a total dose of 1000 IU of TxB-A. The pa­rameters that were assessed were: Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) and Activities of Daily Living Scale (ADL), international scales for spasticity and functionality. The moments evaluated were: T0 (the initial time – injection time), T1 (one month after the injection) and T2 (3 months from T0 or 2 months from T1).

Results. Evaluation of MAS and ADL scales from T0 to T1 and T2 for the 250 IU group shows great improvements at T1 on both scales, MAS (<0.001) and ADL (<0.001), while maintaining the efficacy at T2, MAS (p-value 0.214 ), ADL (p-value 0.166). Evaluation of MAS and ADL scales from T0 to T1 and T2 for the 333 IU group also shows effective improvements on both scales at T1, MAS (<0.001), ADL (<0.001), and T2, MAS (0.849), ADL (0.013). Correlations between the two groups, 250 IU vs 333 IU, performed for each of the scales used in the study evidenced better results at T1 in favor of the 333 IU group on both MAS (p-value 0.034) and ADL score (p-value 0.078), with the proportion maintained in favor of the 333 IU group at T2, MAS (p-value 0.024), ADL (p-value 0.035).

Conclusions. a) TxB-A is efficient as a prime line treatment for spasticity, helping the patients in the muscle neurorehabilitation effort; b) TxB A is effective in reducing spastic muscle tone (MAS); c) TxB A is a useful asset in managing hand function (ADL).

Keywords: spasticity, botulinum toxin type A, muscle neurorehabilitation effort


Effects of botulinum toxin type A on spasticity and hand function