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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 23

Toxins (Basel)



Electrical Stimulation of Injected Muscles to Boost Botulinum Toxin Effect on Spasticity: Rationale, Systematic Review and State of the Art.


Picelli A, Filippetti M, Sandrini G, Tassorelli C, De Icco R, Smania N, Tamburin S
Toxins (Basel). 2021 Apr 23; 13(5).
PMID: 33922855.


Botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) represents a first-line treatment for spasticity, a common disabling consequence of many neurological diseases. Electrical stimulation of motor nerve endings has been reported to boost the effect of BoNT-A. To date, a wide range of stimulation protocols has been proposed in the literature. We conducted a systematic review of current literature on the protocols of electrical stimulation to boost the effect of BoNT-A injection in patients with spasticity. A systematic search using the MeSH terms "electric stimulation", "muscle spasticity" and "botulinum toxins" and strings "electric stimulation [mh] OR electrical stimulation AND muscle spasticity [mh] OR spasticity AND botulinum toxins [mh] OR botulinum toxin type A" was conducted on PubMed, Scopus, PEDro and Cochrane library electronic databases. Full-text articles written in English and published from database inception to March 2021 were included. Data on patient characteristics, electrical stimulation protocols and outcome measures were collected. This systematic review provides a complete overview of current literature on the role of electrical stimulation to boost the effect of BoNT-A injection for spasticity, together with a critical discussion on its rationale based on the neurobiology of BoNT-A uptake.