Botulinum toxin has been a highly successful treatment for dystonia and other movement disorders. Patients with abnormal arm, leg, or trunk positions, or one of various other movement disorders such as dystonia, blepharospasms, or hemifacial spasm may have dramatic benefit with proper injections.
Botulinum toxin blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from being released into the space between the muscle and nerve. This temporarily decreases the overactive contraction of the muscles, allowing the patient to develop a more normal and functional posture. Some patients experiencing pain associated with the dystonia may also experience improvement.
There are four toxins approved in the United States. None of them is a generic. At the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, we have access to all the approved toxins to be injected in our patients. The physician with input from the patient makes the selection of the particular toxin.
Despite the medication being a toxin, proper infiltration of the muscles at the correct dosages usually provides the desired benefit with minimal to no side effects. Your doctor will discuss the potential complications of the treatment before proceeding.
Expected side effects during the injections include pain at the injection site, bleeding and sometimes, a small hematoma.
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