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Botulinum Toxin Injections—Medical
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Botulinum Toxin Injections—Medical?

Botulinum toxin is made from a type of bacteria. It is toxic to the nerves. Another name for it is bacterial neurotoxin. An injection puts this toxin into muscle. There, it blocks the chemical signal from the nerves to muscles. This will decrease the muscle contraction (tightening).

There are several types and brands of this toxin. Examples include Botox, Dysport, and Reloxin, which are formulations of botulinum toxin type A. Myobloc is another brand, but it is a formulation of botulinum toxin type B. These products are used for cosmetic and medical reasons.

This injection process is often called botox injection, although any brand of the botulinum toxin may be used.

The injection is FDA-approved to treat:

  • Cervical dystonia (abnormal spasms of neck muscles)
  • Blepharospasm (spasm of eyelid muscles)
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating)

The injection has also been used to treat other conditions, such as:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Achalasia (spasm of esophageal muscles causing difficulties in swallowing)
  • Muscle spasms due to cerebral palsy
  • Spasticity in leg and arm muscles due to brain injury
  • Incontinence due to bladder problems
  • Anal sphincter disorders
  • Peripheral nerve pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder (jaw disorder)

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Possible Complications

Complications are rare. When they occur, they are temporary and mild. Side effects are related to the site of injection. For example, if injections take place near the eyes, there may be complications with eyelids or brow line.

Temporary issues may include:

  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Stinging around the injection sites

The following are less common reactions. They are generally mild and do not last long.

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Flu -like symptoms
  • Headache

Other complications that may occur include:

  • Excessive weakness of the muscle around the eyes—can cause drooping of the eyelids or obstruction of vision
  • Difficulty swallowing—can occur in patients receiving injections in their neck
  • Compensatory hyperhidrosis—people being treated...