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Can Botox be used for treating drooling in Parkinson’s disease?

You most likely know that Botulinum toxin (more commonly referred to as Botox®, among other brand names) is used for cosmetic purposes to decrease wrinkles. Prior to being used in this way, Botulinum toxin was used for medical purposes to control abnormal movements. In the right hands, it can be a very effective measure to control a variety of problems related to PD.

In this guide, we find out the following: Can Botox be used for treating drooling in Parkinson’s disease, can botox cause parkinsons disease, botox for shaking hands, and botox long term side effects.

What is botulinum toxin?

Botulinum toxin is a substance produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botulism is caused by the harmful effects of this toxin. If the toxin enters the bloodstream, it can spread throughout the body, causing widespread muscle weakness. In its full-blown form, botulism can cause difficulty with swallowing and breathing by causing weakness of the muscles that control these functions.

The good news is that decades ago, scientists learned how to isolate the toxin and harness its power for medical use, and it can be safely injected into particular muscles in order to decrease unwanted movements of those muscles.

Can Botox be used for treating drooling in Parkinson’s disease

Abnormal foot posturing and leg spasms which impair walking (foot dystonia), eye twitching or involuntary eye closure (blepharospasm), and drooling are usually greatly improved with botulinum toxin injections while conventional oral medications are usually poorly effective for these disabling symptoms.

Symptoms Improved

Abnormal posturing of the foot and toes (sometimes associated with painful leg spasms) is called foot dystonia, and commonly occurs in patients with Parkinson’s disease in the early morning, when medications wear off, or with exercise. Drooling or excessive saliva production can be embarrassing, impair speech and social communication, as well as soiling clothes. Eye twitching or involuntary eye closure (blepharospasm) impairs reading, driving, and social communication by essentially causing functional blindness.

Treatment Methods

Botulinum toxin is injected specifically into the overactive muscles causing either the foot cramps, eye twitching or drooling (salivary glands). The effect comes on gradually over several days, with the peak effect reached in approximately 2 weeks. The results last for about 3 months, so injections are repeated at 3 month intervals to maintain ongoing benefits.


Without treatment, the symptoms will continue and gradually worsen, resulting in increased disability.

Oral medications can occasionally be helpful for foot dystonia, and deep brain stimulation is usually an effective treatment. Botulinum toxin injections are less invasive than deep brain stimulation and have a high success rate for foot dystonia.

Blepharospasm is rarely improved with other treatments, unless it occurs solely as a consequence of anti-Parkinson medication wearing off. In such circumstances, adjustment of oral anti-Parkinson medications can often be effective, but even then, botulinum toxin injections provide additional therapeutic benefits. Deep brain stimulation, on the other hand, may itself induce involuntary eye closure (blepharospasm) in about 10 or 15 percent of patients, and thus is not recommended for treatment.

Drooling in Parkinson’s disease is caused by reduction in automatic swallowing mechanism, resulting in pooling of saliva in the mouth. Although oral medications to dry up secretions can sometimes be of some benefit, these are commonly associated with significant adverse effects, including worsening of cognition. Botulinum toxin injections are generally much more effective, and have a much lower rate of side effects.

Prognosis With Treatment

Botulinum toxin injections for foot cramping and abnormal posturing (foot dystonia) results in reduced pain, improved foot positioning and improved quality of gait. Side effects are uncommon, but can occasionally include increased calf weakness. Injections are customized in terms of dose and the specific muscles injected, to maximize benefit and minimize excessive weakness.

For drooling (sialorrhea), botulinum toxin injections are targeted to the parotid and submandibular glands. 80 to 90 percent of patients experience improvement or elimination of drooling, resulting in improvement in speech and elimination of embarrassment and soiling of clothing. Side effects can include excessively dry mouth and, rarely, increased trouble swallowing. We commonly use Myobloc instead of Botox in order to more selectively reduce drooling, and reduce any risk of worsening of swallowing.

Eye twitching or involuntary eye closure (blepharospasm) occurs in up to 10 to 20 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Botulinum toxin injections result in marked improvement in 80 to 90 percent of patients. Occasional side effects include eye dryness and eyelid droopiness. The specific dose and pattern of injections around each eye is customized to maximize benefits and minimize any potential adverse effects.

can botox cause parkinsons disease

Botox has been used for many years as a cosmetic treatment to erase wrinkles and give people a more youthful appearance. But did you know that Botox can also be used to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms? Botox injections have been approved by the FDA to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and studies have shown that it can offer some relief for those who suffer from this debilitating condition.

In this blog post, I’m going to discuss the ways that Botox can be used to help treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms, as well as some of the potential risks and side effects that you should be aware of before trying Botox as a treatment. I’ll also talk about some of the other treatments that may be available to those with Parkinson’s, and what the research and studies say about the effectiveness of using Botox to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

What Is Botox?

Before we dive into the ways that Botox can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms, let’s first discuss what Botox is. Botox is a type of botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is used in cosmetic procedures to temporarily reduce wrinkles and give the skin a more youthful, smooth appearance. In addition to its cosmetic uses, Botox has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of certain medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.

How Can Botox Be Used To Treat Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms?

Botox injections have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of certain Parkinson’s disease symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, and stiffness. Botox works by blocking the nerve signals from the brain to the muscles, which in turn can reduce the symptoms. Botox is injected directly into the affected muscles, and the effects can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on the person and the severity of their symptoms.

What Are The Risks And Side Effects Of Using Botox For Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms?

As with any medical procedure, there are certain risks and side effects that you should be aware of when using Botox to treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The most common side effects of Botox include headache, muscle weakness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and drooping eyelids. It’s also important to note that Botox is not recommended for use in individuals with certain medical conditions, including myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome.

What Other Treatments Are Available For Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms?

In addition to Botox, there are several other treatments that may be used to help reduce Parkinson’s disease symptoms. These include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medications. It’s important to speak to your doctor about the treatment options that are best for you and to make sure that you understand the potential risks and side effects of any treatment that you may be considering.

botox for shaking hands

How many of Hollywood’s male and female actors are driven by vanity and career opportunities to appear young by using Botox (botulinum toxin) injections? Well, there’s no way to know – and anyway, what does it matter? But now let’s ask, how many people have Essential Tremor (ET), the most common movement disorder? Estimates are as high as 10% of the U.S. population. While ET can begin at any age, it most commonly begins after age 40, and is most prevalent in older adults. For those who can’t live normally due to tremors, finding a solution matters greatly.

Treating ET

ET is not life threatening, but it can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to lead a normal life if it becomes severe. Most ET patients manage to cope until it reaches that point, at which time they are likely to seek treatment. Therapies fall into three broad categories:

4 things to know about botulinum injections

Most people know botulinum toxin (BoNT) by its trade name, Botox. This drug is a neurotoxin, meaning it has a toxic effect (paralysis) on muscles and nerves. When used properly, it is safe. And, when the tremors are controlled, BoNT is appealing because there are no systemic side effects as there are with oral medicines. Here are four important things to keep in mind about the use of BoNT for ET:

Controlling the tremor source using MRgFUS

Sperling Neurosurgery Associates offers source control of tremor with a treatment called MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). Increasingly recognized as a revolution in ET treatment, MRgFUS stops tremors by deadening the “relay station” in the part of the brain that forwards dysfunctional brain transmissions outward to the limbs and other areas. What makes it particularly special is that no incisions or holes drilled in the skull are needed during this outpatient treatment – AND results are immediate and durable!

botox long term side effects

Ever since the FDA approval of Botox in the 1980s, people everywhere have been obsessed with the injectable to cheat the aging process—aesthetically, at least. Botox is a neurotoxin that temporarily “prevents the communication between your nerves and your muscle,” explains dermatologist Mara Weinstein, MD. In other words, Botox paralyzes the injected muscle, usually for a period of three to six months. “Therefore, if you try to frown, you won’t be able to, which is not a bad thing,” says Weinstein. She adds that regular treatments with the neurotoxin have been shown to enhance mood and fight depression.

For anti-aging purposes specifically, doctors use Botox to treat two types of wrinkles: static and dynamic. Static lines are the deep wrinkles that are etched into people’s faces after several decades of frowning, smiling, and raising their eyebrows, while dynamic wrinkles are only visible as you’re making a facial expression. “The goal of treatment is to prevent the formation of static lines altogether,” Weinstein says. “However, if you already have static lines, regular treatments with neurotoxin (and filler) can certainly soften the appearance and in some cases, eliminate them in the long run.”

Here’s the thing: Because the drug has only been around for 30 years, there’s not much to glean when it comes to the long-term effects of Botox. To find answers, we consulted top dermatologists.

Here are eight things you should know about Botox injections and how they impact your body.

Botox Trains Your Muscles

After using Botox continuously for years, your muscles will become trained not to make wrinkle-forming expressions as aggressively. Weinstein says, “Once you are used to the feeling of having less movement in the forehead after neurotoxin, you will be more aware of making the movement when the toxin wears off.”

Becoming more consciously aware of your expressions will help you avoid excess frowning, squinting, and eyebrow-raising moving forward.

Botox Weakens the Muscles

If you didn’t move your legs for 20 years, eventually those muscles would shrink and become quite weak. The same thing can happen to the muscles in your face: “If used regularly, over a prolonged period, without interruption, eventually the muscle will atrophy from lack of use,” says the legendary dermatological surgeon Patricia Wexler, MD. That’s not to say your entire face will atrophy. “As the Botox is injected in discrete locations on the face, eventually only those treated muscles will atrophy, leaving other muscles to maintain full volume,” Wexler notes.

So, no, your face isn’t going to look stone-cold, according to Michele Farber, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. “There are plenty of muscles that are working full time to allow for normal facial expression.” She adds, “If given a break from Botox, muscles will regain strength.” she says.

Botox Might Make Skin Visibly Thinner

Wexler says that some patients complain of a visible thinning of the skin after many years of Botox use. This might mean exposure of subdermal veins between areas of normal thickness. This isn’t common, but Wexler says that patients who start Botox “too early,” like in their early 20s, can be at risk for this side effect. In these cases, “The skin of the forehead [can] get prematurely thinner, and the muscles weaker,” she says. Sometimes, after many years of use, this can even result in the look of heavier brows and eyelids, “making the toxin more difficult to continue using.”

“Discussing a proper skin regimen and integrating daily sunscreen can reduce this risk,” Farber says.

Botox Could Result in Mild Discoloration or Texture

Again, not typical, but Wexler says that with the skin thinning, some patients notice “a visible waviness of the skin overlying the muscles treated,” as well as discoloration. “On expression, the forehead may even appear like hills and valleys,” she says.

Luckily, this side effect is preventable: “[It] can be avoided by changing the pattern of injection to give smaller amounts of toxin in a more uniform distribution to get an identical effect without this problem, or stopping the toxin for an extended period,” Wexler says.

You May Need Less Botox Over Time

Years of Botox use may mean you’ll need less and less for maintenance over time. “With appropriate frequency and amount, your muscles become less strong and you may not need as much Botox or need it as frequently,” Farber says. “When your muscles are ‘trained’ not to move, it helps with the aging process and preventing wrinkles.”

The Effects Will Last After You Stop

“Many people fear that their faces will become dramatically wrinkled when they stop Botox. If you choose not to continue, those muscles staying out of use while Botox is active can delay the aging process; it reduces movement when injected, slowing the formation of wrinkles,” Farber explains. In other words, your skin won’t develop lines overnight to make up for lost time—you’ll still enjoy looking years younger relative to your age, depending on how long you kept a Botox regimen.

Long-Term Botox Brightens Skin and Decreases Wrinkles

Aside from what can happen after long-term use of Botox, one thing is for sure: “If you continuously get Botox for 10-plus years you will certainly look much younger and have fewer wrinkles,” promises Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “Your skin will look much smoother and the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles will be greatly diminished.”

Weinstein agrees, adding, “You can age gracefully without having any wrinkles on the forehead, glabella, or around the eyes, when you may have had the propensity to develop them. That’s the beauty of Botox.” (FYI, the glabella is on your forehead above and between your eyebrows).

Is Baby Botox A Safer Alternative?

If commitment is keeping you from taking the first plunge into traditional botox, you could opt for a more natural alternative. Baby Botox, or botox for newbies, is simply Botox injections administered in smaller doses. You’ll come away with a more natural appearance after each session as compared to a traditional dose with the same benefits. Cost-wise, there’s not much difference, but you’ll experience fewer side effects, and recovery time is minimal. The bottom line: Your best bet is to consult with a board-certified dermatologist before taking the full plunge.

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