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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Antivirals in combination with corticosteroids compared to corticosteroids alone improve facial recovery in severe Bell's palsy… and possibly more?
  1. John R de Almeida
  1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to : Dr John R de Almeida, Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, 610 University Avenue, 3-955, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9; john.dealmeida{at}utoronto.ca

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Context

Bell's palsy is an acute, idiopathic paresis or paralysis of the facial nerve. The annual incidence is between 20 and 30 cases per 100 000.1 It is believed to be caused by a herpes simplex viral infection affecting the facial nerve.2 As such, antivirals have been used to treat this condition. Although several systematic reviews failed to show a benefit of antivirals in facial nerve recovery,3 ,4 one previous review demonstrated a possible benefit of antivirals in addition to corticosteroids5 leading to a subsequent guideline suggesting that antivirals may benefit patients with severe Bell's palsy.6

Methods

The authors performed a rigorous systematic review and meta-analysis …

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