Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin type A is available in two commercial forms: BotoxTM (Allergan pharmaceuticals) and DysportTM (Ipsen pharmaceuticals). The term ‘botox’ is often used interchangeably with botulinum toxin.
It is administered for multiple medical reasons, and can be used to treat:

Botulinum toxin can be used to treat:

  • Headache/Migraine
  • Cervical dystonia/torticollis
  • Jaw clenching/Bruxism/TMJ Dysfunction
  • Excessive Sweating/Hyperhydrosis
  • Hemifacial/ blepharospasm
  • Excessive Salivation/Sialorrhea
  • Spasticity
  • Tremor

What Can I Expect?

A neurologist will undertake an initial consultation to assess if botulinum toxin administration will help your particular clinical presentation, and where it is best administered.

There is no special preparation required to undergo botulinum toxin injections.

A very thin needle is used to introduce the toxin under the skin or in to the muscle. In the case where there is muscle overactivity (such as dystonia, spasticity) the concurrent use of EMG can better guide the injections. This is a method in which the needle acts like an amplifier, to listen in to muscle activity, and therefore target the muscles that are most active.

The botulinum toxin typically takes 5-10 days to start taking effect. It usually reaches a peak effect after 1-2 months, and then diminishes again at around 3 months. This is because the toxin is slowly eliminated by the body. This means repeat injections are typically needed for ongoing clinical benefit.