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Botulinum toxin-A for the treatment of neuralgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Meng F, Peng K, Yang JP, Ji FH, Xia F, Meng XW

Received 22 March 2018

Accepted for publication 24 July 2018

Published 12 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 2343—2351


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Fan Meng, Ke Peng, Jian-Ping Yang, Fu-Hai Ji, Fan Xia, Xiao-Wen Meng

Department of Anesthesiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China

Aim: This meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of botulinum toxin-A (BTX-A) for the treatment of neuralgia.
Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing BTX-A treatment with saline for alleviating neuropathic pain. Primary outcome measures were pain scores up to 24 weeks after treatment. Secondary outcomes were hours of sleep, Short Form-36 (SF-36) life quality questionnaire, and adverse events. We used Review Manager 5.3 for the data analyses.
Results: Twelve RCTs were included (n=495). Pain scores in the BTX-A group were significantly lower compared to the saline group at 4 weeks (mean difference [MD] =–1.64, 95% CI [–3.21, –0.07], P=0.04), 12 weeks (MD =–1.49, 95% CI [−2.05, –0.93], P<0.00001), and 24 weeks (MD =–1.61, 95% CI [−2.81, –0.40], P=0.009). There were no significant differences in hours of sleep, SF-36 questionnaire, or the incidence of injection pain or hematoma between the two groups. No serious adverse events associated with BTX-A were noted. Fourteen out of 108 patients (12.9%) with trigeminal neuralgia experienced mild facial asymmetry after the BTX-A treatment.
Conclusion: Based on the current evidence, BTX-A may be an effective and safe option for the treatment of neuralgia. Due to the limited number of patients included in this meta-analysis, more trials are still needed to confirm these results.

Keywords: botulinum toxin, neuralgia, neuropathic pain, meta-analysis

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