Multiple Sclerosis: Botox Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideMultiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

Who is a good candidate for Botox injections?

Patients who have limited areas of spasticity, such as one arm or one leg, are often very good candidates for botulinum toxin treatments. Patients who have been poorly tolerant of oral medications due to sleepiness, dry mouth, or even cognitive problems may also benefit from the use of botulinum toxin injections to treat their spasticity.

Patients who have certain underlying neuromuscular diseases, such as myasthenia gravis, or who are being treated with medications that block the neuromuscular junction, should not be given botulinum toxin injections, as widespread or prolonged weakness may occur.

How many Botox injections are needed? How do Botox injections work?

The exact number of injections needed to treat a patient's condition is highly individualized. One patient may respond to as few as two or three injections, while another patient may require many more.

Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine from nerve endings. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter required by muscles for muscular contraction. By eliminating the ability of a muscle to contract, it relaxes, thereby decreasing spasticity and tone. The blockade of acetylcholine does not occur immediately. Most patients do not begin to see the effect of a botulinum toxin injection for a few days, and it may take a few weeks for the maximum benefit to become apparent. Additionally, the benefit of botulinum toxin injections is not permanent; after a few months (typically three), the effect of the injections is no longer seen, and the injections need to be repeated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/11/2016

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