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AAO-HNS Issues Guidance for Bell's Palsy Treatment During COVID-19

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 -- In a statement issued by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recommendations are presented for the treatment of Bell's palsy after COVID-19 vaccination and for unvaccinated patients.

C. W. David Chang, M.D., from the AAO-HNS Patient Quality and Safety Improvement Committee, and colleagues developed recommendations to guide physicians on treatment of patients who develop Bell's palsy shortly after COVID-19 vaccination and unvaccinated patients who develop Bell's palsy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authors note that the overarching guidance remains timely access to and administration of vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which is considered vital to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic. Corticosteroid therapy and/or antiherpes viral therapy is recommended for patients who develop Bell's palsy shortly after vaccination. Although the effect of corticosteroids on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is currently unknown, immunocompromising conditions and use of immunocompromising medications are not contraindications to vaccination. Corticosteroid therapy and/or antiherpes viral therapy is recommended in unvaccinated patients who develop Bell's palsy. Patients may proceed with vaccination while being treated with corticosteroids for Bell's palsy. The broad underlying differential diagnosis should be considered as in all cases of facial paralysis, as per clinical practice guideline recommendations.

"At this time, there is insufficient evidence to conclude the existence of a causal relationship between vaccination against COVID-19 and Bell's palsy," according to the press release. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will continue surveillance for cases of Bell's palsy as vaccination efforts continue."

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Posted: February 2021

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