Botox Treatment for Cancer Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Ella Fedonenko

Botox, which is a brand name, has become the generic term for wrinkle elimination treatment. It’s actually so much more than that. Patients with various medical conditions have found relief through Botox treatments, and new studies find the medication helps cancer patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

Chemotherapy and Peripheral Neuropathy

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin may develop painful peripheral neuropathy. This condition results from damage to nerves controlling arms and legs sensation. Symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy include:

  1. shooting pains
  2. loss of feeling
  3. changes in touch perception – cold feels hot, and vice versa.

In some patients, symptoms eventually subside. Others are not so fortunate, and neuropathy becomes permanent.

A Study in Mice

A study published in July, 2015 edition of Anesthesia and Analgesia reports that mice with chemotherapy induced neuropathy were given Botox injections. As a result of Botox injections mice in the study experienced significant pain reduction. Local injections into an affected paw reduced pain in mice for more than two weeks, and Botox injected into the spine reduced pain in all four paws.

A Study in People

Results of a French study appeared in February 29, 2016 edition of The Lancet. The double- blind, placebo-controlled study took place at two French outpatient clinics and a clinic in Brazil. Patients with neuropathy – although not necessarily chemotherapy-induced one – were either given botulinum toxin A or a placebo over a 24-week period. Botulinum toxin A is the active ingredient in Botox. Patients receiving botulinum toxin A had reduced pain intensity over those receiving the placebo. The study conclusion states, “Two administrations of botulinum toxin A, each of which comprised of several injections, have a sustained analgesic effect against peripheral neuropathic pain.”

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