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A patient-initiated treatment model for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm: a randomized controlled trial

Lawes-Wickwar, S., McBain, H. B. ORCID: 0000-0002-6742-1104, Brini, S. , Hirani, S. P. ORCID: 0000-0002-1577-8806, Hurt, C. S. ORCID: 0000-0003-1571-0040, Flood, C., Dunlop, N., Solly, D., Crampton, B., Newman, S. P. ORCID: 0000-0001-6712-6079 & Ezra, D. G. (2022). A patient-initiated treatment model for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Neurology, 22(1), 99. doi: 10.1186/s12883-022-02603-7


To test, in a two-arm, single center, superiority, randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of and costs associated with a patient-initiated treatment model for people with hemifacial spasm (HFS) and blepharospasm (BEB) in comparison to usual care.

One hundred and thirty patients with HFS or BEB, aged 18 years or over, were recruited from a nurse-led botulinum toxin type A clinic at an eye hospital in the United Kingdom (UK), completed baseline measures and were randomized (1:1). The intervention group determined their own botulinum toxin type A (BoNT/A) treatment schedule during the trial period (9 months) and received an information leaflet with a “hotline” number to book an appointment. Usual care appointments were scheduled by treating clinicians. Data analysts were blind to study group. The primary outcomes were disease severity and functional disability, as measured by the Jankovic Rating Scale and Blepharospasm Disability Index, respectively. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, anxiety and depression, satisfaction with care, confidence in the service, economic costs and employment days lost.

Sixty-five patients were randomized to each group. The intervention demonstrated no statistically significant difference to usual care for any of primary outcomes. On secondary outcomes the levels of anxiety differed significantly (F2, 142.39 = 1.65, p = 0.02), with the intervention arm exhibiting a decrease and the control arm an increase (Hedges’ g = − 0.26 [99% CI -0.83, 0.32]). No other statistically significant differences were found for secondary outcomes. Overall healthcare costs and costs to the patient were on average £198.95 less (95% CI -£256.76, £654.67; p = 0.10) per participant for those in the intervention compared to usual care, although this finding was not significant.

We did not observe differences between the patient-initiated treatment model and usual care for people with BEB or HFS, on any primary outcome measure, quality of life, or depression. The patient-initiated treatment model may, however, have the potential to save healthcare costs and reduce anxiety. Patients using this new model were also equally as satisfied in the service and confident in their care as those receiving treatment as usual.

Trial registration ID NCT02577224, 16th October 2015.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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