Decoded Science: Will Botox injections now become standard treatment for tremors related to MS?
Decoded Science: How often do patients require Botox shots during MS treatments?
Dr. van der Walt: “The Botox injections can be given every 3-4 months, but is appears to sometimes only needed twice per year. From our experience, it seems that every person will require an individual dosing schedule according to his or her needs. This question could potentially be answered by future studies. The long-term benefits of Botox treatment need to be studied in more detail. Some of the patients in this study have continued to receive Botox injections after the study finished. In our experience, the benefit of injections do not diminish over time but the side-effects, particularly weakness, become less of a problem as the doses that are injected can be more accurately defined for a particular person. Clearly, this needs to be studied more scientifically.
Decoded Science: Can patients ask their doctors for Botox injections to treat MS symptoms?
Dr. van der Walt: “Although Botox is licensed for use in several neurological conditions including Focal dystonias such as torticollis, blepharospasm and spasticity (stiffness) after Stroke, it is not licensed to be used for tremor in MS. However, patients could discuss being assessed for this treatment with their neurologist who would be best placed to advise on the availability of using the medication “off-label” in their specific region.”
Treating Multiple Sclerosis Tremors with Botulinum Toxin Type A
Dr. Anneke van der Walt ended the interview, with the final comment, “I would advise patients who are interested in exploring Botox treatment for their tremor to make sure that they are referred to a Movement disorder specialist with both an interest in tremor and expertise in complex Botox injections.”
As this treatment option further develops into the next stages, Dr. Anneke van der Walt’s study may help improve the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis.
Walt, A., et al. A double-blind, randomized, controlled study of botulinum toxin type A in MS-related tremor. (2012). Neurology. Accessed July 3, 2012.
Warrick, P., Dromey, C., Irish, J.C., Durkin, L., Pakiam, A., Lang, A. Botulinum toxin for essential tremor of the voice with multiple anatomical sites of tremor: a crossover design study of unilateral versus bilateral injection. (2000). Laryngoscope. Accessed July 3, 2012.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. Multiple Sclerosis. (2011). Accessed July 3, 2012.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.