What are the treatment issues and complications of brachial neuritis (BN)?

Updated: May 06, 2020
  • Author: Nigel L Ashworth, MBChB, MSc, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Milton J Klein, DO, MBA  more...
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Answer

Treatment is largely symptomatic in patients with brachial neuritis (BN), and opiate analgesia often is necessary in the initial period. Immunosuppressive therapy (eg, steroids, immunoglobulin, plasma exchange) is not known to be beneficial for the condition. [41, 42]

However, a study by van Eijk et al indicates that oral prednisolone, a corticosteroid, may be an effective pain treatment for BN. [43] The investigators compared pain relief and strength recovery in 2 groups of patients with BN, one of which (50 patients) received prednisolone during the acute phase of the condition, and the second of which (203 patients) did not receive the drug.

The authors found that the median time required for initial pain relief was 12.5 days in the first group, compared with 20.5 days in the untreated patients. Moreover, 18% of the prednisolone patients recovered strength within the first month of treatment, while only 6.3% of the control group did. In addition, 12% of patients in the prednisolone group attained a full recovery within 1 year, while only 1% of the untreated group fully recovered within that period. The authors recommended that oral prednisolone be used during the acute phase of BN, but they also advised that a prospective, randomized trial be conducted to verify their results.


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