Multiple Sclerosis: Treating Multiple Sclerosis With Botox
What Is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a muscle-relaxing medication used to decrease spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.
Botulinum toxin is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is in a class of drugs called neurotoxins. There are three types of botulinum toxin available for therapeutic use:
The FDA, despite the drug's effectiveness, has not yet approved the use of these treatments for MS-related spasticity. Botox, Myobloc, and Dysport are approved by the FDA for the treatment of a condition marked by repetitive contraction of the neck muscles (cervical dystonia).
What Is Spasticity?
Spasticity refers to a wide range of involuntary muscle contractions that result in muscle spasms or stiffness. Spasticity interferes with voluntary muscle movement and usually involves the muscles of the legs and/or arms.
Spasticity may vary, based on many factors, including infections, stress, pain, temperature, position and time of the day. Over time, severe spasticity may cause decreased range of motion in the affected limbs.
Spasticity is the result of an imbalance in the central nervous system, caused by a trauma or disease in the brain and/or spinal cord. This imbalance causes hyperactive muscle stretch reflexes, which result in involuntary contractions and increased muscle tone.
Some doctors believe that an increased sensitivity in the parts of the muscles that are responsible for contracting (tightening), relaxing and stretching the muscles contribute to spasticity.