A double-blind randomised placebo-controlled evaluation of three doses of botulinum toxin type A (Dysport) in the treatment of spastic equinovarus deformity after stroke

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2003;15(4):289-300. doi: 10.1159/000069495.


Background/objectives: Calf muscle hypertonicity following stroke may impair walking rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to assess botulinum toxin (Dysport) in post-stroke calf spasticity.

Methods: A prospective, multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study was performed to evaluate dysport at 500, 1,000 or 1,500 units in 234 stroke patients. They were assessed at 4-week intervals over 12 weeks.

Results: The primary outcome measure, 2-min walking distance and stepping rate increased significantly in each group (p < 0.05, paired test), but there was no significant difference between groups (including placebo). Following dysport treatment, there were small but significant (p = 0.0002-0.0188) improvements in calf spasticity, limb pain, and a reduction in the use of walking aids, compared to placebo. Investigators' and patients' assessments of overall benefit suggested an advantage for dysport over placebo, but this was not significant. Sixty-eight patients reported 130 adverse events, with similar numbers in each group. The few severe events recorded were not considered to be treatment-related.

Conclusion: Dysport resulted in a significant reduction in muscle tone, limb pain and dependence on walking aids. The greatest benefits were in patients receiving dysport 1,500 units, but 1,000 units also had significant effects. Dysport 500 units resulted in some improvements. Since few adverse events were reported, this therapy is considered safe and may be a useful treatment in post-stroke rehabilitation of the leg. Possible reasons why functional improvements in gait parameters were not observed are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage*
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Equinus Deformity / drug therapy*
  • Equinus Deformity / etiology*
  • Equinus Deformity / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / drug therapy*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy*
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology*
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A