Botulinum Toxin

Botulinum toxin is a highly effective treatment for symptoms related to many movement disorders. Patients with abnormal arm, leg, or trunk positions, or one of various other movement disorders such as dystonia, blepharospasms, or hemifacial spasm may have dramatic benefit with proper injections. Botulinum toxin injections may also be used to treat excessive drooling, chronic migraines headaches, and spasticity.

Botulinum toxin blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from being released into the space between the muscle and nerve. This temporarily decreases the overactive contraction of the muscles, allowing the patient to develop a more normal and functional posture. Some patients experiencing pain associated with the dystonia may also experience improvement.

There are four toxins approved in the United States, and at the Northwestern University Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center we have access to all the approved toxins and experienced clinicians who can perform injections.

Despite the medication being a toxin, proper infiltration of the muscles at the correct dosages usually provides the desired benefit with minimal risk, although your doctor will discuss the potential complications of the treatment before proceeding.

Possible indications for botulinum toxin injection include:

  • Blepharospasm
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Chronic migraine
  • Spasticity
  • Sialorrhea (drooling)