Duration of effect of botulinum toxin type A in adult patients with cervical dystonia: A retrospective chart review

Allison Brashear, Maureen Wooten Watts, Albert Marchetti, Raf Magar, Helen Lau, Liping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical trials have established the efficacy and safety of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) in patients with cervical dystonia. To maintain the clinical benefits of BTX-A, injections need to be repeated whenever patients' symptoms begin to recur. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine, in clinical practice settings, the mean duration of effect of BTX-A in the treatment of adult patients with cervical dystonia. Methods: A retrospective chart review was undertaken at an academic center and a private neurology practice. At each site, ≥50 patients being treated for cervical dystonia were identified and randomized for chart review. Patients had to have received the first assessable injection of BTX-A between January 1, 1998, and March 31, 1998, to coincide with the clinical availability of the most current formulation of the neurotoxin. A chart was eligible for review if the patient was aged ≥18 years, had a documented diagnosis of idiopathic cervical dystonia, was being treated with BTX-A, and had been under the continuous care of investigators from January 1, 1998, to August 31, 1999. Of the 102 patients initially identified, the first 30 from each site who met the study inclusion criteria were assessed for (1) age and sex; (2) severity of dystonia; (3) years of BTX-A use; (4) dates of first, second, third, and fourth BTX-A injections; (5) drug dose; (6) use of electromyography; (7) use of other prescribed therapies; (8) laboratory tests; and (9) adverse events. The mean interval between each visit and mean per-patient duration of effect were calculated and stratified by patient characteristics. Results: The mean age of the patients was 56.4 years. Two thirds of the patients were women. Forty-one of the 60 patients (68.3%) had either moderate or severe disease, and 48 (80.0%) had experienced cervical dystonia for >5 years. The mean per-patient duration of effect across the 4 visits was 15.5 weeks (range, 12.2-24.3 weeks). The duration of effect did not differ significantly between study sites despite the differences in disease severity, drug dose, and use of adjunctive therapy. Conclusion: BTX-A controls the symptoms of cervical dystonia for 12 to 24 weeks, with a mean duration of effect per patient of 15.5 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1524
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Botulinum toxin type A
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Duration of effect
  • Retrospective chart review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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