What are Botox injections?
- They are injections of botulinum toxin into muscles affected by dystonia (involuntary muscle spasms)
- The botulinum toxin causes temporary weakness in the injected muscles and stops the spasms
- 1-3 injections with a small needle are made in each muscle affected by dystonia
- It is important that a trained doctor give the Botox shots
- Some use an electromyography (EMG) to locate the overactive muscles and to measure and record muscle activity
How effective is Botox?
- Once Botox is injected, it starts working within a few days
- Botox provides relief from dystonia for several months before it needs to be injected again
- Individuals who respond well to Botox can continue to use it for many years without side effects
- Some individuals who had previous success with Botox may begin to experience a decrease in effectiveness over time
- The nature and/or pattern of muscle contractions may change
- An individual may make antibodies that “fight” the toxin and decrease its effectiveness
When should it be considered?
- Since Botox must be injected into each affected muscle, it should considered when an individual has dystonia affecting a specific body part, such as a hand
- It is also effective in individuals who have most of their dystonia symptoms controlled by other medications/methods but need extra treatment for a particular area
Are there any side effects or cons?
- Possible side effects of Botox:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Flu-like symptoms
- Soreness at the injection site
- All of these side effects are temporary and typically clear up on their own
- Adjusting the dosage or site of injection may help avoid these side effects
- Resistance to Botox can develop
- Treatment may lose its effectiveness over time
- The body may make antibodies that “fight” the toxin and decreases its effectiveness
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