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Botox - New Cure For Dystonia

June 28, 2009

Dystonia is a medical condition characterized by the involuntary sustained muscle contractions in those who are affected. These contractions are associated with abnormal movements, random muscle spasms and an awkward posture of the head and neck. Dystonia is a reasonably rare condition but it can be severe.

But now, doctors have discovered a breakthrough cure for the condition - the common cosmetic Botox. In a recent study reported in the Alternative Health Journal (AHJ) and titled "Dystonia Cure: Botox," botulinum toxin type B (BoNT-B) was said to have beneficial effects against Dystonia.

According to Dr. Dan Sevigny, who authored the article for AHJ, Botox injections have been used as a treatment for Dystonia ever since the early 90s. The shot is being administrated at the site of the spasm and by its effect of tightening nerves it causes the lurching and tightening to discontinue. In their new study, Dr. Sevigny and his colleagues examined the continuous use of BoNT-B up to the period of 12 months, as well as safety of the chemical and the overall benefits.

For the study purposes, the investigators involved more than 500 patients who were diagnosed with cervical dystonia. The study was carried out for over seven years with an involvement of multiple centers. The average age of the participants was 54 years, 96 per cent were Caucasian and female (68 per cent). The botulinum toxin dosage that was used by researchers was in the range of between 5,000 U and 25,000 U, with an average dose of 17,500 U. The time between shots was between 2 months to 122 days (with an average time of about 92 days). The average duration of the treatment course was 3.4 years or about 14 sessions with most participants reporting an improvement in their symptoms each time.

The experts observed that the most frequently reported adverse events were mild to moderate dry mouth - with 63 per cent of all cases, and dysphagia, with 26.1 per cent of cases reported. Dysphagia involves difficulty to swallow which may result in aspirations. No events of aspiration occured, as well as aspiration pneumonia, or botulism. The researchers came to the conclusion that long term and repeated doses of BoNT-B for the treatment of cervical dystonia are quite safe, well tolerated by patients, and with good beneficial results.

The experts say that according to the new findings this is considered a very safe practice with the exception of one issue that there has been no research done that would demonstrate the effects of a long-term use of Botox. Besides, there are medical professionals who insist that there might be many risks involved when using the chemical for non-cosmetic purposes. Botox has become extremely popular as an anti-wrinkle treatment that is administered through injection in the corner of eyes and mouths to reduce fine lines. It is approved by Food and drug Administration for that use.

Botox has also been used to cure Cerebral Palsy, a major illness. However, while it the treatment had some success, there have been cases of severe side effects as well, which included even death. Scientists say that Botox has not yet been approved for use outside of cosmetic treatment, but it can be used to cure Dystonia. The new study finds support and is proven by examples from the Mayo Clinic, where Botox injections are recommended as one of the many treatments for Dystonia.

The study was presented this month at the Movement Disorder Society's (MDS) 13th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.

Tags: Health