BOTOX® Cosmetic Injections: More Than a Pretty Face
Editor's note: In February of 2008, the FDA issued a warning that BOTOX® Cosmetic has been linked to dangerous symptoms and deaths in some users; According to the FDA, the deaths all involve children, mostly those suffering from cerebral palsy.
For the millions of children and adults around the world who live with cerebral palsy, there is no cure. But recently, doctors have discovered that the disruptive muscle spasms, contractions, and chronic tremors it causes can be assuaged with the help of an unlikely injectable treatment: BOTOX® Cosmetic.
One Powerful Protein
The active ingredient in BOTOX® Cosmetic is a highly refined protein known as botulinum toxin A. When injected into the body, this protein blocks the release of acetylcholine, a compound that transmits signals between the nerves and muscles. Typical BOTOX® Cosmetic patients receive injections to prevent specific facial muscles from contracting and deepening forehead wrinkles or crow’s feet. However, an increasing number of cerebral palsy patients are finding relief from uncontrolled muscle contraction in their feet, hands, and legs.
Cerebral palsy is not a disease or syndrome with a singular cause and set of symptoms, but rather a neurological condition affecting muscle coordination and control brought on by damage to the brain. The severity of physical and mental impairments resulting from cerebral palsy varies from patient to patient; however, the primary effect of this condition is a lack of normal motor skills. By relaxing stiffened muscles and joints, BOTOX® Cosmetic gives cerebral palsy patients an opportunity to use atrophied muscles and develop the motor skills necessary to hold a pencil, turn a doorknob, kick a soccer ball, and walk naturally.
Rest for the Weary
The muscle-relaxing effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic last for approximately three to six months and can be repeated as necessary. At this point, researchers have not observed any negative complications related to prolonged use of BOTOX® injections in cerebral palsy patients. In fact, the opposite has proven true: the more time atrophied muscles spend relaxed and in use, the more mobility and strength is restored. Even the need for medications and surgeries can be reduced by this remarkable treatment method. While it may be only temporary, the relief that BOTOX® Cosmetic provides is enough to give hope to countless cerebral palsy sufferers.
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