Is the reduction of spasticity by botulinum toxin a beneficial for the recovery of motor function of arm and hand in stroke patients?

Eur Neurol. 2003;50(3):165-71. doi: 10.1159/000073058.


To determine the functional benefit of botulinum toxin A (BtxA) in spasticity of arm flexors, we conducted an open-label study with 10 stroke patients. 480 mouse units BtxA (Dysport((R))) were injected into flexor muscles. Outcome measures were done by the Modified Ashworth Scale, Rivermead Motor Assessment (arm section), active and passive ranges of motion (ROM), grip strength and a 3-dimensional motion analysis. The functional capacity of the entire arm, even of the shoulder, and the ROM of fingers and wrist increased. Despite a diminution of muscle tone, grip strength remained unchanged or increased. An improvement of forearm extension was only observed in cases of preserved voluntary extensor motricity. Injection of BtxA into spastic distal flexor muscles may lead to a functional improvement of the entire arm. Grip strength is not necessarily reduced.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm / physiopathology
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / drug effects
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A