03 July 2012

Botox injections could be used to treat people with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research has revealed. Clinical trials show the botulinum toxin may help to reduce the debilitating tremors experienced by individuals with the condition.A total of 23 MS sufferers were given either Botox Type A injections or a saline placebo for three months, before receiving the opposite treatment for the same length of time. The severity of their tremors was reduced, while their writing and drawing abilities improved at six weeks and three months after receiving the Botox compared with after receiving the placebo. Published in the journal Neurology, the report noted mild muscle weakness often developed as a side effect of the treatment, but this disappeared within two weeks. Dr Anneke van der Walt, consultant neurologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and author of the study, explained current MS treatments were not effective enough. “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,” Dr van der Walt added. Botox is usually injected into the skin to reduce frown lines and wrinkles, and is an alternative to more invasive surgery.