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Botox ® More than Wrinkle Eraser

July 28th, 2011

Botox ® has been approved for limited use since the 1980’s to treat many muscle related problems.  The botulinum toxin was first used in a non-cosmetic clinical setting.   As with many new drugs, alternate uses have been discovered and treating facial wrinkles has certainly proved to be a big one.  Botox continues to provide substantial medical benefits aside from the most common cosmetic uses.

Botox is effective in treating a variety of conditions, usually involving muscles.  They include, blepharospasm and strabismus, which are neurological movement disorders affecting the face.  It is also used to treat muscles that are hypertonic, lacking the ability for active lengthening.

The first example of an FDA approved non-muscular use is for the treatment of over-active sweat glands.   Sweat glands under the arm are injected and a reduction of excessive sweating may last up to 6 months.  However, this can be quite an uncomfortable procedure, as the armpit has lots of nerve endings and is particularly sensitive.

Clinical trials are currently underway to evaluate use for migraines, where injections into the head and neck muscles may reduce the onset of migraines.  This new usage offers the potential to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic migraines.

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