Botox or botulinum toxin is a well-known treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. Obtained from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, it is actually a neurotoxin that when present in food can lead to a life-threatening condition called botulism. However, given in small doses, the same toxin can be used to disrupt the nerve signalling process in a given area and stop muscle contractions.
The effects of the treatment last for anywhere between a month to three months depending on the condition that is to be treated. Botox is usually given as injections in the areas that need treatment. The injections have several side effects including bruising, pain, swelling, flu-like symptoms, stomach pain and headache. When given on the face, it can cause droopy eyelids.
Now, a group of researchers in the USA say that giving low doses of botulinum toxin right under the skin in a grid-like pattern provides a significant improvement in the roughness and texture of skin with comparatively fewer side effects than the standard method of treatment.
The researchers indicated that more studies are still needed to determine the right dose of the toxin for maximum safety and efficacy of the treatment through this method.
However, wrinkle removal is not the only thing that botox is used for. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the therapy for the treatment of several health conditions. However, botox may not be safe for everyone and, therefore, cannot be used by all.
Here is all you need to know about the health benefits and contraindications of botox.
As per the US FDA, Botox can be used for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Strabismus or crossed eyes in patients more than 12 years of age
- Severe axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the armpits) which cannot be treated with any topical treatment
- Upper limb spasticity (stiffening of muscles, hindering movement)
- Urinary incontinence caused due to overactivity of bladder muscles in conditions like multiple sclerosis and spinal injury
- Cervical dystonia, a condition characterised by involuntary contractions of neck muscles
- Eye twitching
Apart from this, botox is also used for preventing chronic migraines, which refers to when someone experiences headaches for more than 15 days a month over a span of at leasr three months.
Additionally, Botox is used off-label in the treatment of conditions such as:
- Oily skin
- Raynaud’s disease, a condition in which certain areas (usually fingers and toes) feel cool or numb at times
- Pompholyx or dyshydrotic eczema, a condition in which fluid filled blisters develop on a person’s palms and soles of the feet
- Vulvodynia, or chronic pain in the vagina
Contraindications: Who cannot take Botox
Botox has the following contraindications as per the US FDA:
- There is no evidence to prove the safety of Botox in children under the age of 16 for cervical dystonia, under the age of 12 for strabismus and eye twitching and under the age of 18 for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis, overactive bladder, upper limb spasticity and as a prophylaxis for chronic migraine.
- Botox may harm the fetus so, it is contraindicated in pregnant women.
- Botox may increase the effects of muscle relaxants and some other drugs that interfere with neuromuscular transmission (transmission of signals between brain cells and muscles). If you are taking any medications, it is best to inform your doctor about them before a botox treatment.
For more information, read our article on Causes and remedies for wrinkles on the face.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.