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Botox Treats More Than Wrinkles

botoxBotox has become synonymous with facial wrinkle suppression, but some physicians are having amazing results by using it to treat various seemingly unrelated medical conditions. Such off-label use in tandem with recent studies has proven the value of Botox for specialized treatments, not just Houston cosmetic surgery.

Botox is a pure version of botulinum toxin, which is a nerve toxin made by the same bacteria that triggers botulism. Botulism’s paralytic effect on muscles can be deadly. Botox treatments impede chemical nerve signals the body sends to specific glands or muscles to reduce or halt their activity.

A Houston cosmetic surgeon uses Botox to temporarily eliminate nasolabial wrinkles, forehead creases and crow’s feet beside the eyes. Physicians are also using it with U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for hyperhidrosis, eye muscle disorders and neck muscle disorders. Allergan, the company that manufactures Botox, has applied for 90 patents for a far wider range of uses for Botox. Currently, Botox generates $1 billion in yearly revenue for Allergan. That figure could grow exponentially if Allergan’s new patents are approved.

Allergan spokesman Dr. Brin said that Botox has been proven to be safe during 30 years of research with some 11,000 subjects and over 17 million treatments of the drug since 1994 in the United States. This safety profile led to Allergan’s research into using Botox on other parts of the body for unique problems. Allergan does not recommend using Botox in unapproved ways, but many physicians across the country have been successfully treating a variety of health problems with Botox.

For example, Dr. Andrew Blitzer, the Director of the Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, uses Botox to treat vocal cord problems by injecting it directly into the larynx. He treats the pain of Tempo-Mandibular Jaw syndrome (TMJ) with Botox as well.

The Director of the Center for Headache and Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Mark Stillman, injects Botox into the muscles of the neck and head to quell repetitive migraine headaches. A dermatologist in Manhattan, New York, and Coral Gables, Florida, employs Botox for skin problems, including red or oily skin. Botox has also been used to treat chewing and swallowing problems, hair loss, phantom pain, anal fissures and drooling.

It is entirely possible that Botox will earn more money for Allergan as a treatment medication rather than as a wrinkle remover. Botox has shown promise in many other applications.

  • Repetitive Motion Injuries
    Botox can reduce the inflammation of repetitive stress injuries. It can be used longer and more frequently than steroids.
  • Battling cancer
    Evidence suggests that Botox could improve the effects of chemotherapy by slowing the growth of tumors and blocking the nerves on which the tumors rely.
  • Depression
    Botox has been shown to improve the mood of depressed people. It also helps moderate stress.
  • Incontinence
    Many women over 40 suffer from an overactive bladder. Botox injections into the wall of the bladder give relief for up to six months.
  • Bell’s Palsy
    Botox helps reduce the facial spasms caused by Bell’s palsy. It also restores facial symmetry.
  • Scarring
    Botox seems to have an effect on scars on the face and neck if it is injected during the healing phase.
  • Pain Management
    Many types of pain can be managed with Botox, such as hip, knee or shoulder pain and migraines. It gives months of pain relief and eliminates the need for narcotics. A Houston breast augmentation specialist could use Botox to alleviate the pain of the procedure.

Botox appears to be a wonder drug that has more applications than anyone ever dreamed. The future for Allergan and Botox looks bright.

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