Botulinum Toxin (BTX) is used worldwide for the treatment of abnormal muscle contractions. BTX-A is one of a family of neurotoxins (designated as serotypes A, B, C1, D, E, F, G) which have similar properties. The clinical effects of BTX have been recognized since the end of the 19th century. The discovery that BTX blocks neuromuscular transmission laid the theoretical foundation for the development of the toxin as a therapeutic tool. By blocking acetylcholine release, BTX provides a long-lasting but reversible effect with few side effects. This has made BTX an important tool in a wide variety of neuromuscular disorders. It is now used widely as a therapeutic agent in an expanded scope of human conditions including the dystonias, tremor, tics and spasticity. Clinical effects are often seen within one week of injection and benefits typically last from three-six months.
BTX-A and BTX-B are both commercially available for clinical use. The clinical use of purified botulinum toxin represents one of the most dramatic role reversals in modern medicine: a potential evil transformed into a health benefit. Patient selection and proper choice of dose and administration sites are the most important determinants of a favorable response to treatment.
Botulinum Toxin injections are done with a small needle. There is usually only temporary discomfort at the site of injection. Side effects are generally minimal and transient. Consult your doctor for more information about botulinum toxin and its many uses.