Botox is generally referred to as a neurotoxin, a type of protein made by the spore bacterium Clostridium botulism and other related species. It prevents the discharge of the neurotransmitter acetylcholinamic acid from nerve axons by blocking the entry of chloride channels at the neuromuscular juncture. The toxin, botulinum neurotoxin, causes the paralytic disease botulism. The neurotoxin BOTOX is made up of a protein, a sequence of amino acids, and an enzyme.
A common use of Botox for muscle weakness is to weaken the muscles of the face and neck, especially in patients with severe weakness caused by diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. The procedure for using Botox for this purpose involves injecting a low concentration of the neurotoxin into a particular muscle group, such as the biceps of both hands or the trunk of the neck. The muscle weakness can be expected to occur in a few days after the injection. The patient must be carefully monitored for a few days to observe any symptoms of muscle weakness, including loss of muscle tone or firmness. If any such symptoms are observed, the doctor may also advise the patient to take pain medication, in addition to the Botox injection.
Patients normally experience moderate to temporary muscle weakness and spasm after receiving Botox treatments. The doctor may administer additional doses of Botox if the muscle weakness persists or seems to have become more severe. Normally, there are no serious side effects after receiving Botox injections. But, precautions should be taken in case some patients experience a rash or redness in the injected areas or have an allergic reaction to the botox substance.
In extremely rare cases, due to low blood flow in the area where the Botox injections have been given, a rare but potentially fatal condition called botulism can occur. This is caused by a rare strain of botulism, which occurs when a small amount of the neurotoxin leaks into the blood stream through the injection site. It can result in severe complications such as pulmonary embolism or shock. Symptoms of this condition include severe muscle weakness, breathing problems, seizures, increased heart rate, breathing difficulty, vomiting, nausea and chest pain.
Another rare but potentially very dangerous side effect of botox is the development of severe skin conditions such as psoriasis, in which the affected area develops blisters and lesions. In extremely rare instances, people with eye problems such as a detached retina or retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration have reported developing severe complications from Botox. Some people, especially those with allergies, have reported suffering from anaphylactic shock after being injected with botulinum toxin. This is a medical emergency and should be treated promptly. Rare side effects may include hearing loss, urinary retention, rare vaginal infections, difficulty swallowing and vision problems. Some individuals may experience decreased libido and excessive sweating as a side effect of Botox.
Botox has recently become popular for use in treating fine lines, folds and crow’s feet, due to the fact that it effectively smoothes out the facial skin, making it appear less wrinkled and lined. Botox can be used to reduce the appearance of frown lines, smile lines, forehead lines and neck lines. For individuals who are looking to improve their confidence and interpersonal relationship skills, Botox has been quite successful in reducing the appearance of frown lines. Botox injected directly into the muscles has also produced significant effects on the face, such as an evened out look. Many patients have found that Botox has significantly increased their self-esteem and has enabled them to achieve the level of success that they were hoping for.