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For Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Botox Seems to Have Myriad Uses

Surprisingly, botox has a role in multiple sclerosis.

There are many things that confuse me, particularly in the medical area. Perhaps that’s why I am more comfortable thinking about MS patients’ quality of life rather than being into the hard science of medicine and understanding how medicines work. I’m thinking in particular of botulinum toxin, more commonly known by the trade name Botox.

If the word botulinum sounds familiar, it might be because it is synonymous with botulism, a serious illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause food poisoning, muscle paralysis, and even death. Cases of botulism in the food chain have become more frequent, and recently there was a recall of a popular name-brand cheese dip due to contamination. How a poisonous bacterium can be used beneficially is one of those medical questions I try not to think about and instead accept on faith that it works in beneficial ways.

A recent article, “Taming a Toxin,” published in Brain & Life, which is the layperson’s magazine from the American Academy of Neurology, highlights the history of botulinum toxin and its assorted uses. From “Taming a Toxin,” I learned that there are two types of botulinum toxin: types A and B. Type A is manufactured under the names Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. Type B is Myobloc. I’m most familiar with Botox because it has been a regular part of treating my MS symptoms for a few years.

We all think of Botox as a vanity treatment, used to fight the effects of aging by smoothing wrinkles on the face. But it has many more uses, including several for people with multiple sclerosis. I’ve discussed the use of Botox for my bladder and how it works well at controlling the overactive signals and impulses that often accompany MS. I’ve had bladder Botox injections done six times now, and each time the effects last for about 10 months. I consider that use a success. So, when my neurologist suggested I try Botox injections in my hamstring and quad muscles to treat the spasticity in my legs, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Unfortunately, that use doesn’t last as long as in the bladder; I have the leg muscle injections done every three months.

Read on: For Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Botox Seems to Have Myriad Uses

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