There’s yet another use for the common injectable Botox®. According to WRAL-TV News, doctors are using the drug, which is derived from the neurotoxin Botulinum Toxin Type A, to help individuals who have had strokes as well as those who have stiff limbs due to cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
“The bent elbow, clenched fist, flexed wrist – those muscles are stiff,” Dr. Patrick O’Brien explained to the news source about symptoms experienced by some sufferers of these illnesses. “The muscles are tight. They hurt.”
Injecting Botox into the muscles can help, according to doctors and patients.
“[The injections] are effective in paralyzing those stiff muscles so that the therapy can be more effective,” stroke patient Chris Johnson told WRAL.
Stroke survivor Sarah Abrusley, who was a 29 year old ballerina when she suffered a stroke and temporary paralysis on her left side, told Fox 8 News that Botox helped her battle the limb spasticity, regain movement in her arms and legs as well as improve her overall balance.
“More and more my fingers are relaxed,” Abrusley told the news provider. “Everyday I can very readily take my wedding ring on and off.”
Fox 8 reports that using Botox to treat limb spasticity is relatively new, as the maker of Botox only started marketing the drug to be used in this manner a few years ago.
Botox, which was the first neurotoxin to be approved for cosmetic use in the U.S., works by temporarily weakening or paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles. It is commonly used to treat crow’s feet, laugh lines and other wrinkles. However, it also has other non-cosmetic benefits as well.
In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Botox to treat migraine headaches. According to WebMD, the FDA suggests Botox, when used to treat chronic migraines, be administerd at intervals of about 12 weeks as multiple injections around the head and neck to try to dull future headache symptoms.
The drug is also used to treat more than 20 other conditions, including incontinence and excessive sweating, and scientists are currently testing Botox’s efficacy in treating conditions such as asthma.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Botox has been the most popular cosmetic nonsurgical procedure performed by its members for the last 12 years. In 2011, more than 2.6 million individuals underwent Botox treatments.
Experts say botulinum toxin often provides positive cosmetic results with few side effects. However, its effects are not permanent and injections need to be repeated every three to six months for the best results.
Because there are several options available when it comes to injectable treatments, experts recommend speaking with an ASAPS member physician to discuss your areas of concern, and to hear the options they suggest before making a decision.