July 5, 2012

Botox: The New MS Treatment?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Botox — it´s not just for wrinkles! It´s been known to reduce fine lines, help chronic headaches, and reduce sweating. Now, it can help those suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS).

According to new research, the Botulinum toxin may help prevent shaking or tremor in the arms and hands of people with MS. "Treatments in use for tremor in MS are not sufficiently effective and new alternatives are needed," study author Anneke van der Walt, MD, consultant neurologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and research fellow with the University of Melbourne in Australia, was quoted as saying.

The study included 23 people with MS that were given botulinum toxin type A injections or a saline placebo for three months. Then, they received the opposite treatment for the next three months. The scientists measured the tremor severity and their ability to write and draw before, during and after receiving the treatments. They also took video assessments every six weeks for six months.

The study discovered that people saw significant improvement in tremor severity, writing and drawing at six weeks and three months after the botulinum toxin treatment compared to after placebo. In tremor severity, the participants improved an average of two points on a 10-point scale, bringing their tremor from moderate to mild. In writing and drawing, participants improved by an average of one point on a 10-point scale.

"Our study suggests a new way to approach arm tremor related to MS where there are currently major treatment challenges and it also sets the framework for larger studies," van der Walt was quoted as saying.

42 percent of people developed muscle weakness after treatment with botulinum toxin compared to six percent after placebo. It was a generally mild weakness and went away within two weeks.

Source: Neurology, July 2012