Botulinum toxin is available as four brands: Botox, Myobloc, Dysport and Xeomin. Each is produced from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
When eaten, the toxin causes a serious food poisoning called botulism. But when injected in very small amounts, it can be used safely to treat a number of medical and neurological conditions.
What do botulinum toxin injections treat?
One of the significant uses of botulinum toxin injections is to improve disability and pain in a variety of neurological and medical conditions. These include the following:
- Spasticity, an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle
- Dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes severe muscle spasms and contractions
- Excessive drooling
- Chronic migraine headaches
- Strabismus, or misaligned eyes
- Overactive bladder
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
Botulinum toxin is also used to temporarily smooth facial wrinkles for cosmetic purposes.
How do botulinum toxin injections work?
The toxin is injected with a thin needle at the site where it’s needed. The toxin acts to weaken unwanted muscle contractions by temporarily reducing nerve transmissions.
The effects of the injections last about three to six months, depending on the condition being treated.
Are there side effects from botulinum toxin injections?
Most people tolerate the injections well and complications are rare. Side effects from the injections depend on the area that is being treated. They occur when the toxin spreads and weakens nearby muscles.
Side effects are temporary and can be reduced through adjustment in the injection technique. Some of the common side effects include the following:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Excessive weakness of face, neck or limb muscles
- Dry mouth
If these occur, they are usually mild and resolve over the course of four to six weeks.
Why choose Rush for botulinum toxin injections
- Rush has many specialists who are experts in the use of botulinum toxin injections, including neurologists, physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists) and dermatologists.
- Rush’s neurology program was the first such program in Chicago to provide botulinum toxin injections to patients, and its specialists who administer the injections are some of the most experienced in the country.
- The Rush Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorders Center is internationally known for its work in treating dystonia, and houses the headquarters of the Dystonia Study Group, a national group of clinical dystonia experts.
- Rush’s neurology program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.