Botulinum toxin therapy

What is Botulinum toxin and how does it work?

Botulinum toxin is a protein that is produced naturally by a particular type of bacterium which can be used as a medicine to relax your muscles. Tiny amounts are injected into your neck and shoulder muscles, reducing the nerve signals that cause the muscles to contract.

It can reduce the abnormal head and neck movements and relieve pain. Other treatments, such as physiotherapy, can be used alongside this medicine to help with your movement and balance. Your healthcare professional will discuss these options with you.

How will this medicine be given?

Botulinum toxin is given as an injection by appropriately trained physicians into the affected muscles in your neck. Your doctor will decide on the required dose, which muscles should be injected and the treatment schedule. Sometimes your doctor may use a technique called electromyography (which registers the activity of muscles) to help locate the injection sites.

How long does it take for this medicine to start working?

Improvement should be seen within 1 week after injection.

For how long does it work?

The effect is temporary and usually lasts for 3 to 4 months. After this time the link between the nerve and the muscle starts to work again. This means that the muscle may start to contract again and further botulinum toxin injections may be needed

If you have any questions about botulinum toxin treatment, please speak to your doctor or healthcare professional.