What is Botox good for and why

January 5th, 2016 by Dr. Farokh Zhand

Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. It is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles.

 Technically, Botox is a liquid neurotoxin injected into the muscle used to treat frown lines, squint and smile lines, nasal crunch lines, and horizontal forehead wrinkles. By relaxing the underlying muscles, these lines become less deep and show less. Creating a more youthful appearance.

In as much as Botulinun toxin has been proven to be highly poisonous and catastrophic, Botox has proven to be a successful and valuable therapeutic protein when dosage, frequency of treatment and variety of treated clinical conditions are considered.

Botulinum toxin is administered by diluting the powder in saline (sodium chloride) and injecting it directly into neuromuscular tissue. It takes 24-72 hours for botulinum toxin to take effect, which reflects the time needed for the toxin to disrupt the synaptosomal process. In very rare circumstances, it may take as long as 5 days for the full effect of botulinum toxin to be observed.

Beyond aesthetic applications, Botox has been found useful in treating a variety of medical conditions including eye squints, migraines, excess sweating and leaky bladders.

Botox is also used to treat certain eye muscle conditions caused by nerve disorders. This includes uncontrolled blinking or spasm of the eyelids, and a condition in which the eyes do not point in the same direction.

Botox is used to treat cervical dystonia (severe spasms in the neck muscles). It is also used to treat muscle spasms (stiffness) in the upper limbs (elbows, wrists, fingers) or lower limbs (ankles, toes). Botox is also used to treat severe underarm sweating hyperhidrosis.

Botulinum toxin is currently approved for therapeutic applications such as: Blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelids) Idiopathic rotational cervical dystonia (severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms)   chronic  migraine, Severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) Strabismus (crossed eyes), Post-stroke upper limb spasticity, Detrusor over-activity urinary inconsistence Overactive bladder, Hemifacial spasm, Glabellar lines (frown lines between the eyebrows), and Canthal lines (crow’s feet).

Botox is also often used off-label prescriptions as a remedy for; Achalasia (an esophageal issue causing symptoms such as difficulty swallowing), Anal fissure and Anismus (dysfunction of the anal sphincter), Sialorrhea (hypersalivation), Allergic Rhinitis, Sphincter of oddi (hepatopancreatic) dysfunction, Cerebral Palsy, Oromandibular dystonia (forceful contraction of the jaw, face and/or tongue) and Laryngeal Dystonia (forceful contraction of the vocal cords).

Botox helps migraines to some extent. Using botulinum toxin injections for chronic migraine sufferers helps them “a little”, and does not appear to be the amazing therapy some people believe or claim it to be, but researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). The authors added that Botox was not better than placebo in preventing chronic-tension-type headaches or episodic migraine.

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Site last updated: 30/10/2016

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