Aug 7, 2008
By now, you've probably seen advertisements for Botox--a popular injectable that relaxes targeted muscles to reduce or eliminate surface wrinkles, giving the skin a smoother, more refreshed appearance. But in recent years, scientists have found that there's much more to the drug than meets the eye.
Botox, the brand name for botulinum toxin type A, was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use in 1989 to treat eye-muscle disorders, such as excessive blinking. In 2002, the FDA approved Botox for anti-aging and cosmetic uses. And today, it is being touted in some scientific circles as something of a miracle drug, indicated for a variety of serious medical conditions, including the following.
The FDA states that Botox is an alternative to surgical treatments for sweating. Hands, feet, armpits, trunk, and face are the more common sites of profuse sweating. The Botox toxin inhibits some of the nerves in these body parts that stimulate sweat glands and doesn't carry the same risk of complications as surgical treatments.
Migraine and headaches
. If you suffer from migraines or severe headaches and nothing seems to alleviate the pain, Botox might be the drug for you. Physicians believe that the drug reduces headache pain because it reduces muscle contractions, blocks a pain-transmitting chemical, or a combination of both, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Such treatment has not been approved by the FDA but continues to be studied.
Severe muscle disorders
. Doctors first discovered that Botox could help stroke, spinal cord injury, brain trauma, multiple sclerosis, back pain, and cerebral palsy patients, to name a few, by treating severe muscle stiffness and involuntary jerking. Botox rarely restores full muscle function, but it can improve it significantly, according to the FDA.
. According to experts, several bladder disorders can be treated with Botox. When traditional treatments don't help for overactive bladder syndrome, for instance, Botox can be injected into various sites in the bladder wall in an outpatient procedure. Such treatment has not been approved by the FDA but continues to be studied.
Facial tics and spasms
. Botox is becoming an increasingly common treatment for involuntary facial tics and spasms, with reported response rates of 90 percent for blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. In addition, the drug may be helpful in treating stuttering, voice tremors, and jaw clenching.
. According to researchers in the Netherlands, Botox has powerful indications for use in tennis elbow. The injectable seems to act though forced rest of the muscle, which relieves spasms and allows for proper healing. The treatment may also be helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
Keep in mind that the effects of Botox typically last three to six months and the procedure must be repeated to maintain results. Side effects are rare but could include unwanted muscle paralysis, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). It's also important to know that many Botox applications haven't gained FDA approval yet. If you're considering the drug, remember to do your research and consult with a health-care professional.
Posted by Jane at Thursday, August 07, 2008 |