HealthDay News — Subcutaneous botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injections appear to safely and effectively reduce chronic neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury, according to a study published in the Annals of Neurology.

Zee-A Han, MD, PhD, from the National Rehabilitation Center in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues evaluated a one-time subcutaneous BTX-A (200 units) injection in 40 patients with spinal cord injury-associated neuropathic pain. Pain and quality of life assessments were made before treatment and at 4 weeks and 8 weeks after the injection.

The researchers found that among the responders in the BTX-A group at 4 and 8 weeks after injection, 55% and 45%, respectively, reported pain relief of 20% or greater. By comparison, only 15% and 10% of the responders in the placebo group reported a similar level of pain relief. Pain relief was tied to preservation of motor or sensory function below the neurological level of injury. For the physical health domain of the WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment, improvements in the BTX-A group showed a marginal trend toward significance at 4 weeks after the injection.

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“These results indicate that BTX-A may reduce intractable chronic neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury,” the authors write.

Medytox, a maker of botulinum toxin products, supported the study.


Han ZA, Song DH, Oh HM, Chung ME. Botulinum Toxin Type A for Neuropathic Pain in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury. Ann Neurol. 2016; doi:10.1002/ana.24605.