When you hear the word Botox® we know what you’re thinking. In the public consciousness, Botox® has always been about cosmetic uses. Starting in the early 2000s, it was the way that people in Hollywood were smoothing out their wrinkles, and it was used in constant jokes on sitcoms and late-night talk shows.
But as you may know, botulinum isn’t just something that is used to smooth out crow’s feet. In fact, these neurotoxic proteins are actually very important to movement disorders specialist. Let’s take a look at what these medicines are and how they are used by our neurologists as dystonia treatments.
What Is the Botulinum Toxin?
If you’re just hearing about the botulinum toxin, the word you’ll probably note is toxin. Botulinum is indeed deadly, and is the most lethal toxin known. This toxic protein is produced by a bacterium that thrives in an anaerobic (airless) environment, and in the early days of food canning, it was a serious health concern. Getting botulism, the disease associated with eating food with the toxin, has a very high mortality rate.
Is it dangerous to use in medical procedures? Not really. While ingesting this toxic substance in its non-medical form is indeed dangerous, there is almost no risk associated with using botulinum toxin for either cosmetic or medical purposes. Sometimes a small amount of something that’s usually dangerous can have extreme medical benefits when delivered in a controlled manner.
What Are The Brand Names?
The most well-known botulinum supplier is Botox®. Not only were they first to market in the 1980s for their therapeutic injections, but they were also the first as a cosmetic provider (2002). The marketing campaign behind their cosmetic injection products has so made it a household name.
Myobloc® was next to market as a therapeutic treatment, approved in 2000. Dysport® was approved by the FDA in 2009.
What Are They Used For?
Aside from being used to reduce wrinkles on the face, there are many medical uses for the botulinum toxin. At our Austin neurology clinic, we offer it mainly as a dystonia treatment.
Botox® (botulinum type A)
Botox® uses botulinum type A. Botox is most commonly used as a treatment for dystonia, helping to reduce muscle spasticity. These injections tend to last for 3-4 months.
Myobloc® (botulinum type B)
Myobloc® uses a different type of botulinum called type B. It is used as a treatment for cervical dystonia to help with head position and neck pain.
Dysport®, like Botox®, uses type A toxin. It is used for many of the same purposes as Botox®.
Are You A Candidate For These Dystonia Treatments?
While you might never consider using botulinum treatments for cosmetic purposes, we understand if you’re interested in using them as a treatment for dystonia. Dystonia can make life quite difficult, and these injections can give relief to those who are suffering from constant muscle contractions.
If you’re looking for relief, we’d love to talk to you in our Austin neurologist office. Getting help might be easier than you think, so contact us today to learn more about these amazing injectables.