Botox Injections: The Comprehensive Information Sheet

Botox injections define a group of medications that use a toxin produced by a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum for temporary and controlled weakening and/or paralysis of localized muscle activity.

Botox Treatments

While there are eight known strains or types of the botulinum toxin, only two of these, type A (Botox cosmetic) and type B (Myobloc Botox) are administered as part of medical treatments at clinics like Botox injections have, for a long time, been used to treat conditions caused by dystonia; a disorder that affects the neuro-muscular system and causes involuntary contractions of body muscles.

Manifestations of dystonia for which Botox injections have proved effective include the following:

· Cervical dystonia or neck spasms, which causes the head to move forward and/or backwards and often to the side.

· Uncontrolled blinking

· Voice tremors, stuttering and spasms of the vocal cords which cause overall disruption of speech

· Lazy eyes, occasioned by involuntary closing of the eyelids and eye misalignment.

· Urinary retention , overactive bladder and urge urinary incontinence, all of which affect the frequency and control over urination.

· Hemi facial spasms that cause the muscles on one side of the face to contract involuntarily.

Other conditions for which Botox injections are used to treat, with full FDA approval include management of chronic migraines and hyperhidrosis, which is evidenced by excessive sweating. Cosmetic treatments involving Botox therapy are used primarily to counter and reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles.

Administration of Botox injections

The botulinum toxin powder is diluted in sodium chloride and administered directly into neuromuscular tissue, taking an average of 24–72 hours to take effect. The procedure takes only up to 10 minutes and does not require numbing by anesthesia as one experiences only minor discomfort. It is common however to use a cold pack before the procedure to ease the sting of the injection.

How it Works

Botox injections work by blocking the action of a neurotransmitter, impeding successful transmission of signals from the nerve cells to the muscles. In effect, the muscles receive no communication to contract and therefore remain in a state of paralysis, softened and relaxed. This reduces any abnormal contractions of the muscles.

Safety and Precautions

While the uses of Botox injections are varied, there are several pointers to be observed as standard precautionary this regard, one should not be subjected to the injections if one:

· Is allergic to the neurotoxin or the injections therein

· Has an infection at the site chosen for injection

· Is pregnant, looking to conceive in the near future or breastfeeding.

· Suffers from a neurological disorder such as Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and Lambert –Eaton syndrome among others.

· Has a urinary tract infection(UTI)

· Has bleeding disorders

· Has difficulty breathing, as is associated with conditions such as asthma.

· Is on certain medications or taking specific supplements and vitamins.

It is therefore important to consult a professional before commencing on this treatment course.

Risks and side effects

Botox injections, administered by a professional physician or qualified cosmetician are an effective and safe treatment. There are however, a number of side effects, which may vary in severity and persistency period among individuals. These include the following:

· Local edema erythema, pain and bruising around the injection site

· General malaise

· Headaches

· Temporary weakness

· Flu-like symptoms

· Drooping eyelids ,eye ptosis and blurred vision

· Dry mouth

· Dysphagia

· Bladder dysfunction

· Dry mouth, wheezing and rashes

Choosing a respectable and qualified physician to administer the treatment and exercising full disclosure regarding any health issues and medications may help to reduce and plan for management of these side effects. It is also imperative to follow all instructions carefully both pre-injection and after the treatment.

Most of the side effects pass away on their own in a few days or weeks’ time. Where the effects persist, it is advisable to seek medical counsel to find timely solutions and avert any further effects.

Cost of Treatment

Botox injections vary in cost from one practitioner to the next. The effects of the injection last for a relatively short time and therefore have to be administered after a specific period. Most practices do offer special discounts depending on the number of units or rounds a patient requires.

Botox injections, although erroneously associated with only cosmetic applications have many applications in the medical sphere. With proper monitoring and checks by a professional, Botox therapy is a safe and effective treatment course.