Outcome of treatment with valacyclovir and prednisone in patients with Bell's Palsy

Sara Axelsson, Sven Lindberg, Anna Stjernquist-Desatnik

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47 Citations (SciVal)


Idiopathic facial paralysis, or Bell's palsy, shows a nonepidemic pattern that might indicate reactivation of a latent microorganism such as herpes simplex type I as a causative agent. Thirty percent of patients with Bell's palsy given no treatment will not recover completely, and 5% will have severe sequelae. The aim of this study was to find out whether treatment with an antiviral drug in combination with corticosteroids is more effective than no medical treatment at all in patients with Bell's palsy. Fifty-six consecutive adult patients attending the otorhinolaryngology department of the University Hospital of Lund from 1997 to 1999 were treated with 1 g of valacyclovir hydrochloride 3 times per day for 7 days and 50 mg of prednisone daily for 5 days, with the dose being reduced by 10 mg daily for the next 5 days. Fifty-six adult patients with Bell's palsy attending the same department between 1995 and 1996 who were given no medical treatment were studied retrospectively and used as the control group. Forty-nine patients (87.5%) in the treatment group recovered completely, as compared with 38 patients (68%) in the control group (p < .05). One patient (1.8%) in the treatment group displayed severe sequelae, defined as a House-Brackmann score of IV or worse, as compared with 10 of 56 patients (18%) in the control group (p < .01). Among patients over 60 years old, 10 of 10 in the treatment group had complete recovery, as compared with 5 of 12 patients in the control group (p < .01). The present study showed a significantly better outcome in patients with Bell's palsy treated with valacyclovir and prednisone as compared with patients given no medical treatment. This difference in outcome was especially pronounced among elderly patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-201
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • herpes simplex virus
  • Bell's palsy
  • corticosteroids
  • valacyclovir


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