3 Alternative Uses for Botox

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Dr Elenora Fedoneko

When most people think of Botox injections, they think of the main cosmetic use of the drug: getting rid of facial wrinkles. But Botox, made from a potent bacterial toxin, has plenty of medical uses too.

Treating Chronic Headaches

Many people suffer from migraines, an extremely painful type of headache that shuts down a person’s ability to function. A subset of these migraine-suffering individuals do not respond to over-the-counter headache medications or prescription migraine medications. Some of them have frequent, chronic migraines and may suffer from a migraine more days of the month than they feel well. Studies on chronic migraine sufferers have reavealed an unexpected new treatment for chronic migraines: Botox injections. The results of Botox treatment for chronic migraines may last for several months. Botox is not the first line of treatment for migraines, but it is an effective treatment option for those “hopeless cases” that do not respond to the best migraine medications.

Treating Muscular Disorders

Because Botox paralyzes muscles, Botox is extremely useful for treating muscle spasms that do not go away with muscle relaxant medications. Severe muscle spasms can be extremely painful and make it difficult to use the affected part of the body. Botox injections into a muscle will temporarily paralyze the muscle and resolve the unwanted muscle contraction.

Botox can also be used to treat a rare neurological condition called Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome. Individuals with Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome have weak, spastic muscles and poor control of movements. Because the muscles are contracted too much in these individuals, it may become difficult for them to move certain joints because muscle lengthening is impaired. Botox injected into hypertonic muscles can relax them and decrease the level of muscle contraction. Although Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome is an incurable condition, Botox can help treat the symptoms of the disease and restore some level of normal muscle control.

Controlling Excessive Sweating

Botox can also be used to control excessive sweating of the underarms in people who can’t control their sweating with antiperspirants. It was discovered that Botox injections had an effect on decreasing sweat production.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Botox to treat chronic migraine headaches and excessive sweating of the underarms .
The other uses of Botox mentioned are considered off-label uses of the drug, as the FDA has not yet approved Botox treatment for these cases.

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Dr. Fedonenko is a member of the American College of Physicians and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

She completed her Residency at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1998 and has since specialized in Cosmetic Dermatology.

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