Blepharospasm and Hemifacial spasm
- Benign essential blepharospasm
- Hemifacial spasm
- Facial synkinesis (involuntary muscular movement/spasm) following facial nerve palsy
Botulinum Toxin Injections for Muscle Spasms
Botulinum toxin, sold under the brand names Azzalure® (Galderma), Bocouture® (Merz), Botox® (Allergan), Dysport® (Ipsen), Xeomin® (Merz), is a synthetic chemical that, when injected, can be used to temporarily paralyse muscles for treatment of a wide range of conditions. It contains a purified and safe form of botulinum toxin A, which is produced by bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum, that causes botulism. BOTOX®, which is made from a type of bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum type A, is used to block nerve signals for treatment of a wide range of conditions. Although most commonly known for its cosmetic applications, Botulinum toxin injections are an effective treatment for many medical conditions, including muscle spasm disorders such as blepharospasm, which results in forcible closure of the eyelids. Botulinum toxin injections are administered directly into the affected muscle; the injection effectively blocks nerve signals sent to the muscle, keeping it from contracting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions are treated with Botulinum toxin injections?
The following muscle-spasm-related conditions can be treated with Botulinum toxin injections:
- Blepharospasm (excessive blinking), Hemifacial spasm and Facial synkinesis
- Cervical dystonia (neuromuscular disorder affecting the head and neck)
- Bladder dysfunction (overactive bladder)
- Strabismus (squints)
- Achalasia (failure of lower esophageal sphincter to relax)
- Muscle stiffness from upper limb spasticity
Botulinum toxin injections typically begin working a few days after treatment. Depending on the problem being treated, their effect may last for 3 or more months. Results are maintained by regular injections every 3- 4 months. Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding should not receive Botulinum toxin injections.
What do Botulinum toxin injections involve?
Using a very fine needle, Botulinum toxin is injected directly into facial muscles that are affected by spasms. Receiving the injections requires no anesthetic, but some doctors choose to numb the area to be injected with ice packs or a topical anesthetic cream. The injection effectively blocks nerve signals sent to the muscle to prevent it from contracting and to reduce pain.
Patients may need 5 to 20 injections during a single treatment session. The results of treatment are often most effective during the first 2 to 6 weeks after the injection and, according to the manufacturer, will last for up to 4 months. Results can be maintained through routine follow-up injections.
When will I see results from Botulinum toxin injections? How long does it last?
Who is qualified to give Botulinum toxin injections?
What are the possible side effects of Botulinum toxin?
Side effects of Botulinum toxin are usually mild and temporary. Possible injection-site side effects include pain, infection, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, redness, bleeding and bruising. Depending on where they are given, cosmetic side effects of Botulinum toxin injections rarely include temporary swelling or drooping of the upper eyelid or double vision.
Other side effects include Headache and Allergic reactions (including itching and rash). Allergic reactions can result in dizziness, feeling faint, wheezing and asthma symptoms. Normal activities may be resumed immediately after receiving injections.