Frank Sullivan and colleagues are confirming how to treat Bell Palsy best

Sep 16, 2016

Though Bell’s Palsy affects nearly one person in 60 at one time in their life, much around the condition still remains unclear.  

Frank Sullivan, Gordon F. Cheesbrough Chair in Family & Community Medicine at North York General Hospital and Director of UTOPIAN, is helping to solve one part of the mystery: its treatment. New reviews published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal(CMAJ), have summarised more evidence that shows corticosteroids in the early stages of Bell Palsy is an effective treatment for the condition.

“While three quarters of patients fully recover with the simple treatments, some suffer long term impacts,” explain Sullivan. “It’s essential, then, that the condition is addressed early and following the proper treatment protocol.”

The question of whether adding antiviral medications along with corticosteroids for treatment was previously in question: however, using the Cochrane review method – a literature review of all existing literature on the condition – Sullivan and his co-authors have confirmed that, yes, those who received that treatment had a higher rate of recovery.

Sullivan says further research is needed to further analyse the treatment by the severity of the Bell palsy, as well as by patient subgroups based on age.

“Hopefully this gives some assurance to both doctors and patients that we’re treating Bell’s Palsy as effectively as possible and prevent patients from relying on less proven alternative therapies,” say Sullivan. 

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