Most people associate Botox as an anti-aging treatment, but recently, although still in its experimental phase, it’s being used to help children with cerebral palsy. As with other experimental treatments, however, it comes with risks that parents should be aware of in order to make an informed decision as to whether it’s right for their child or not.
What Exactly is Botox?
Botox, also known as botulinum toxin Type B, is a prescription-based drug that’s created with the same type of bacteria that causes botulism and food poisoning. Botox is the brand name of the treatment; there are other similar products with different names, including Myobloc, Dyspot, and Xeomin.
Botox is administered via injections into the muscles in order to weaken and paralyze them. When treating muscles spasms, experts state that it may take 100 or more injections before it’s effective. However, one injection will typically last up to six months.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Botox as treatment for the following:
- Overactive bladder
- Abnormal, severe underarm sweating
- Fine line wrinkles, such as crow’s feet
- Cervical dystonia
- Uncontrollable blinking
- Severe migraines
- Misaligned eyes
In addition, the FDA allows medical providers the option of using Botox, at their own discretion, to treat “off-label” health issues, although it’s not advertised.
How Botox May Help Cerebral Palsy
Complications with Surgery
Depending on the kind and of the severity of cerebral palsy your child has, surgery is a catch-22. Your child may require orthopedic surgery so that tight muscles can be loosened and lengthened, but if you child has gag-reflex problems or esophageal problems related to the disability, anesthesia is an unwanted risk.
Instead of being caught up in the tough decision of deciding between your child’s life or you child’s ability to walk, Botox allows muscles to be loosened and lengthened without the risk of surgery or anesthesia.
Botox Loosens and Lengthens Muscles
Injecting Botox loosens muscles temporarily. This is usually at the direction of the occupational therapist, since, after the Botox injection, the muscles or sometimes a whole limb is placed into an orthopedic device that is intended to stretch the muscle into a way or shape that will be good for the child in the long run.
Are There Any Complications With Botox?
As mentioned earlier, Botox is a toxin of the food poisoning botulism, but since it is administered in small doses, it’s unlikely that the child will experience the most serious complication, which is paralysis. However, it’s important to note that plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Allergan, a California pharmaceutical company ,claimed that Botox can lead to death, which resulted in a $600 million that the company had to pay to the government for unlawful advertising.