Botulimum toxin may help prevent arms and hand tremors among of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new research in Neurology.
"Treatments in use for tremor in MS are not sufficiently effective, and new alternatives are needed," says study author Anneke van der Walt, MD, consultant neurologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and research fellow with the University of Melbourne in Australia, in a press release.
Twenty-three people with MS were given botulinum toxin type A injections or a saline placebo for 3 months. Then they received the opposite treatment for the next 3 months. Scientists measured the tremor severity and their ability to write and draw before, during, and after receiving the treatments. Video assessments were also taken every 6 weeks for 6 months. The Botox injections helped.
Participants saw significant improvement in tremor severity, writing, and drawing at 6 weeks and 3 months after the botulinum toxin treatment compared to after placebo. In tremor severity, the participants improved an average of two points on a 10-point scale, bringing their tremor from moderate to mild. In writing and drawing, participants improved by an average of one point on a 10-point scale. Muscle weakness developed in 42% of people after treatment with botulinum toxin compared to 6% after placebo, but this weakness was mild and went away within 2 weeks. Botox is approved to treat urinary incontinence in people with MS.
Other Botox indications include temporary paralysis of certain facial wrinkles, severe underarm sweating, cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, strabismus, and chronic migraine headaches.