Botox has been increasingly investigated as a treatment for pain-associated conditions, including postherpetic neuralgia.
Postherpetic neuralgia is pain from herpes zoster rash that continues even after the rash has cleared. This pain can be persistent and significantly impact on patient quality of life.
Due to its reported abilities to treat neuropathic pain symptoms, researchers have investigated whether Botox might be a valuable treatment option for postherpetic neuralgia.
To investigate the effectiveness and safety of Botox for treating postherpetic neuralgia, researchers conducted a clinical trial and randomly assigned thirty patients with postherpetic neuralgia to either a Botox treatment group or a placebo control group for comparison. Neither the patients nor doctors were aware of which treatment was being administered. The study found that patients treated with Botox had significant reductions in pain, while none of the patients in the placebo group reported reductions in pain. The pain relief lasted for 16 weeks, in addition to improvements in sleep scores. The study concluded that Botox treatment was effective and tolerated well by this group of patients with postherpetic neuralgia.
More recently, a study investigated the effectiveness of Botox for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia in a group of 13 patients who were given a single dose of Botox and followed-up for up to 16 weeks post-treatment. This group of patients was compared to another group of patients who were treated with oral gabapentin capsules instead. Patients in the Botox treatment group reported pain reduction two weeks after treatment, which was statistically different that the gabapentin group at all time points. There were no serious adverse reactions reported by this study.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD
Apalla, Z., et.al., (2013). Botulinum Toxin A in Postherpetic Neuralgia A Parallel, Randomized, Double-Blind, Single-Dose, Placebo-controlled Trial. Clin J Pain, 29:857–864
Hu, Y., et.al., Subcutaneous botulinum toxin‐A injection for treating postherpetic neuralgia. Dermatologic Therapy, doi.org/10.1111/dth.13181.
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