What is Botulinum Toxin Treatment?
Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. In the muscle-nerve connection, acetylcholine from the nerve end prevents the release of the molecule that carries the muscle contraction order and prevents transmission from the nerve to the muscle for a certain period of time. This procedure weakens the muscles when the injection is done for a while. This toxin, secreted by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, has been used to treat various diseases since 1980. It is an effective and safe medicine when it is used at the right dose.
How often can Botulinum Toxin be applied?
Botulinum toxin types A and B are used in the treatment. In Turkey the A type has two drugs and can be taken from the hospital pharmacy. The botulinum toxin is brought to the polyclinic by cold chain and can be stored inside the refrigerator. These drugs are in the form of vials, sterile saline (0.9% NaCl) is used by diluting a certain rate. It should be consumed within 24 hours after reconstitution.
The muscles or glands associated with the disease should be administered in the correct doses and applied by experienced physicians. The success rate increases when it is accompanied by EMG (electromyography) examination in certain body areas. It is safe and effective when applied at appropriate doses to the right areas. The drug shows full effect after about two weeks, and then this effect gradually decreases. An improvement of 50-90% can be expected for at least 2-3 months. Because the effect is temporary, Botulinum Toxin injections should be repeated about every 3-6 months. There should be at least 3 months between injections to prevent the body from refusing treatment.
Which diseases can be treated with botulinum toxin?
Botulinum was first used by ophthalmologists to treat strabismus. Afterwards, neurologists started to use Botulinum toxin in patients with movement disorders such as dystonia and excessive muscle contractions. 1. Dystonia: involuntary contractions or muscle spasms that cause bending and jumping movements or unusual body postures: – Cervical dystonia (torticollis); neck muscle contractions cause abnormal head rotation, bending or twisting. – Blepharospasm: spasms that cause excessive blinking or eyelid closure. – Oromandibular dystonia: Abnormal movements in the jaw and mouth that can prevent eating and speech. – Laryngeal dystonia (spasmodic dysphonia): spasm of vocal cords. – Hand or arm dystonia such as task specific dystonia.
2. Hemifacial spasm: Muscle spasms that occur around the eye or half of the face.
3. Spasticity: This condition causes muscle spasms and increased muscle tone: it may be caused by cerebral palsy, poststroke, spinal cord damage or multiple sclerosis.
4. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating in palms or armpits
- Other conditions: • Head, hand or voice tremor
- Increased salivary secretion in patients with Parkinson’s disease (sialorrhea)
Chronic migraine headache
Are there any side effects?
Yes, there are rare side effects, but all of them are temporary. The most common side effect is mild muscle weakness in the near of the injection site. For example, eyelid falls and rarely double vision when injecting into the eye area. Other side effects may include pain, hematoma or slightly injection site bleeding. Botulinum Toxin injections should be done by experienced physicians.