Botox currently has several off-label uses including treating excessive sweating, reducing the risk of migraines and helping patients with joint or arthritic pain.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved Botox to treat spasticity in the flexor muscles of adults. Spasticity of the elbow, wrists and fingers is often the result of a stroke, brain injury or the result of progressive multiple sclerosis. The stiffness and tightness in the joints can interfere with daily activities and can affect how a patient looks.
Russell Katz, M.D. and director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research reports, “Muscles affected by spasticity have increased stiffness and tightness, which may lead to pain, difficulties with hygiene and other activities of daily living, and may affect how a patient looks…in clinical trials, treatment with Botox was found to be beneficial to patients with upper limb spasticity.” (Source: Medical News Today)
Botox has a positive effect on muscles that have been affected by spasticity because it blocks the connection between the nerves and muscles, temporarily paralyzing the spastic muscle. This helps relieve pain within seconds, and can help the individual enjoy improved range of motion in the joint.
While some of the side effects of Botox include spreading of the injection to an untreated site and symptoms similar to botulism, most people can benefit from the drug. According to Medical News Today, the most common adverse side effects reported by patients with upper limb spasticity were nausea, fatigue, bronchitis, pain in the arms and muscle weakness.
The side effects and overall effects of Botox are different for each individual, and the treatment must be administered by a certified and licensed medical professional. Treatment with Botox is not intended to be a substitute for rehabilitative care or physical therapy, so many patients will still need to undergo their regular treatment plans in order to achieve desired results.