Home | Neurology Scans | Botox irons out the wrinkles for some Parkinson's patients

Botox irons out the wrinkles for some Parkinson's patients

email Email to a friend
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
image Image: Dario Trimarchi/flickr

Botox is no longer just for looking beautiful; it's for feeling beautiful, too.

Botox is the commercial name for a medication containing Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria best known for causing botulism or food poisoning.

Today, Botox, or botulinum toxin, is perhaps best known worldwide as a wrinkle remover for its ability to paralyze muscles that cause wrinkles. But increasingly, botulinum toxin is coming into wider use as a medical treatment for pain -- one of its first "off-label" medical uses was as a treatment for chronic migraine -- or to aid in managing symptoms in movement disorders such as dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and  hemifacial spasm. 

Guillermo Moguel-Cobos, MD, a neurologist at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, said when BTn enters nerve terminals it reduces nerve firings which causes the muscles or limbs to retun to their original position.

Doug Eshelman, who has suffered with Parkinson’s disease -- a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system -- for five years and is a patient at the center, said he wanted to try it the minute his doctor told him about it, even though it’s not a cure, but helps manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s just as it temporarily irons out facial wrinkles.

He told KABC TV in Los Angeles how Parksinson's had affected his mobility. "Well, I tripped a lot, because I dragged my right leg, I just subconsciously -- you just don't pick it up, so I dragged it." Help came from something he never expected, Botox, the 61-year-old patient said. Eshelman, who describes himself as an active person, said he had believed Botox was just for cosmetics.

Eshelman said his doctor “…gave me nine shots in my leg and within a week, that inside muscle relaxed and my leg went back into place and I walked fine.

"Sometimes I cry when I think about it, like right now. My whole life is back."

As a medical treatment, BT is now FDA-approved for strabismus (lazy eye), blepharospasm (involuntary spasms of the eye lids), hemifacial spasm, cervical dystonia (involuntary contracting of the neck muscles) and migraine, but some physicians, like Moguel-Cobos, find it beneficial for Parkinson's patients as an add-on to standard treatments. Injections are typically give every three months.

Side effects of the injections can include pain, redness, itching, nausea, sweating and headache, according to the FDA. In 2009, the FDA warned that botulinum toxin can spread to other parts of the body and cause muscle weakness, visual impairment, difficulty with speaking, breathing and swallowing, and loss of bladder control.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted):

total: | displaying:

Post your comment comment

No tags for this article
eNews and updates
Sign up to receive breaking news as well as receive other site updates!

We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here .
Blog Communities

Flesh and Stone - Health and Science News - Blogged

Featured in Alltop

Subscribe with Bloglines

Journalist Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites
View Kathlyn Stone's profile on LinkedIn
My Zimbio Top Stories