While Botox is the most commonly known brand of botulinum toxin, there are several other brands, including Dysport, Myobloc.  Many people only know of it for cosmetic uses on supermodels and movie stars, but that’s not what is was invented for.  It originally has been used for treatment of spastic muscles.  Very stiff and sometimes painful muscles limit movement after a stroke or brain injury and in conditions like cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.  Tight muscles through the shoulders, neck and scalp can lead to chronic headaches.   In these conditions the nerve signal to the muscle can be very over active and the medication blocks that nerve signal to help the muscles relax more.  This can improve movement, reduce pain, and prevent developing deformities.

Botulinum Toxin is made from the bacteria that can cause botulism poisoning.  When eaten in spoiled food, it spreads through the body.  However, when injected in extremely small amounts therapeutically, it gets taken of into the nerve endings of the muscle injected and blocks the nerve signal to the muscle.  It can also be used in salivary glands for drooling, sweat glands for hyperhidrosis and other places where similar nerve endings are.  Side effects may occur but are usually mild.  Most common tend to be those typical of any needle stick such as skin irritation, bruising, or soreness, rarely local skin infections have occurred.  Sometimes a low grade temperature or generally flu like symptoms have occurred.  Allergic reactions, just like any drug. Unusual or unpredictable reactions, just like any drug.  

Because this drug gets a lot of press for the cosmetic uses, and has had a big media profile, information online can be inaccurate or exaggerated.  Always consult with a doctor for accurate information.

 

FDA BLACK BOX WARNING

WARNING: DISTANT SPREAD OF TOXIN EFFECT

See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning.

The effects of all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening and there have been reports of death. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults, particularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms.