Millions of people use Botox every few months to get rid of unwanted wrinkles, crow’s feet, and frown lines. However, Botox was originally intended for use in the treatment of muscle spasticity disorders and it is still being used in many patients for that. It is frequently prescribed clinically for use in muscle contraction disorders.
What Is Muscle Spasticity?
For normal daily movements to occur, our muscles contract and relax to produce voluntary physical movement. In certain disorders, the skeletal muscles responsible for movement contract repeatedly in an abnormal manner. This abnormal contraction inhibits and interferes with normal movement as well as the production of speech.
Although the underlying physiology behind these disorders is not completely understood, it usually is a consequence of damage to the portion of the central nervous system responsible for movement i.e. the brain or the spinal cord.
More specifically, dystonia is a complex neurological disorder resulting in involuntary muscle contractions. Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder after essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. There are more than 250,000 known cases of dystonia in the United States alone.
Recent findings from a study show that using Botulinum toxin repeatedly for treating muscle-associated disorders may result in increased endurance to the toxin thus rendering the treatment ineffective.
According to a new study, approximately 15 percent of the 600 patients involved in the study showed varying degrees of resistance to Botulinum toxin type A. The resistance developed after 3 to 5 years of Botox therapy at the end of which the Botox treatment was completely ineffective in these people. These patients were all diagnosed previously with muscle spasticity disorders or dystonia. The journal Neurology recently published the findings of this study online.
The underlying cause behind the resistance seemed to be the development of an immune response to the treatment after repeated use.
Dr. Philipp Albrecht, Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany has stated in a news release “People may be able to lessen their chances of developing this response by making sure the dose of the drug in each injection is as low as possible, the time between injections is not shortened and booster injections are avoided.”