Botox has been available in the United States for clinical use since 1989. At that time it was approved by the FDA for treatment of eye and facial muscle spasm disorders,
blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm respectively. Then in 2000 the FDA approved Myobloc for treatment of cervical dystonia, a condition of involuntary neck muscle spasm. Botox isn’t just to keep as young, but it can actually help with several things besides beauty.
Prior to the use of Botox, it was very difficult to treat muscle spasm disorders. Medications had side effects and surgery had limited benefit associated with the risk of complications. Botox opened an entirely new avenue to treat spasticity. The drug works by causing a chemical relaxation of muscles that are injected. Botox is highly selective in that it remains in the muscles that it is injected into. Patients with cervical dystonia have difficulty with their head pulling to one side of the other. They may also have their head pulling backward or forward. Not only is this condition painful, it also causes patients to have functional difficulty with activities such as driving, playing sports or even eating. In patients with limb dystonia, there is involuntary spasm of an arm, leg or both. This can cause difficulty with dressing, walking or even personal hygiene (if their hand is fisted up.) Botox (or Myobloc) can provide excellent relief of these symptoms thereby improving patients’ quality of life. For patients with severe muscle spasticity from stroke, Botox provides relief of the tight muscles allowing for greater ease in certain activities. It is important
to note that Botox (or Myobloc) will not restore function of any limb affected by the stroke. What the treatment will do is provide increased comfort due to reducing pain from spasm and allow for improvedease in doing some daily activities.