Drug Discov Ther. 2021;15(2):108-111. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2021.01009)

Clinical features of Barré-Lièou syndrome and efficacy of trazodone for its treatment: A retrospective single center study

Morinaga Y, Nii K, Hanada H, Takemura Y, Sakamoto K, Inoue R, Mitsutake T,Tsugawa J, Kurihara K, Tateishi Y, Higashi T


Barré-Lièou syndrome (BLS) is a manifestation of various autonomic and secondary symptoms including muscle stiffness, tinnitus, dizziness, and pain in various body parts. Although considered to be caused by hyperactivation of the autonomic nervous system due to trauma, there is currently no firmly established etiology or evidence on the treatment and clinical features of BLS. We retrospectively examined the clinical features of BLS and evaluated the efficacy of trazodone (TZD) for its treatment. We conducted a retrospective analysis of the data of 20 consecutive cases with suspected BLS who were treated in our hospital between 2016 and 2019. BLS symptoms were rated on a 10-point scale, and two groups were defined, that is, a mild-BLS group (BLS scores, 1-5) and a severe-BLS group (BLS scores, 6-10). Univariate analysis of patient factors was performed. The BLS score was 6.0 ± 1.7, and the maximum TZD dose was 80 ± 34 mg/day; nine patients (45%) were TZD free, and no TZD side effects were observed, while all patients had a good clinical outcome. There were significant differences between the mild-BLS and severe-BLS groups in the period from injury to diagnosis (p = 0.015), chest/back pain (p < 0.001), constipation (p = 0.001), and maximum TZD dose (p = 0.008). BLS involves posttraumatic autonomic symptoms accompanied by depression and insomnia. The sympathetic hypersensitivity theory could explain its etiology. TZD could effectively and safely treat BLS, and early diagnosis and treatment can contribute toward good clinical outcomes. Enhanced recognition and understanding of this disease are warranted.

KEYWORDS: Nonspecific symptoms, posttraumatic autonomic symptoms, hyperactivation

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