Botox Injections Could Help Treat Asthma Patients

by Alexandra Kilpatrick

HSP asthma treatment

Popularly used as a cosmetic procedure to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, Botox injections now treat a diverse range of medical conditions.

Botulinum toxin has been approved to treat everything from severe migraines to overactive bladders. Most recently, the wrinkle-smoother has been found to help asthmatics breathe better.

Published in the journal Respirology, a recent study found that Botox helped asthma patients suffering from voice box problems by paralyzing the muscles through vocal cord injections.

“Many of these patients’ symptoms are extremely severe, so it has been tremendously satisfying to provide them with some relief,” Professor Philip Bardin, the study’s co-author and director of respiratory and sleep medicine for Monash University’s Department of Medicine, said in a news release, according to MedicalDaily.com.

Asthma patients with vocal cord dysfunction experience an abnormal uncoordinated movement in their vocal cords, which cause them to experience episodes of severe shortness of breath and wheezing, a condition untreatable with traditional asthma medications.

Bardin and ENT surgeon Dr. Malcom Baxter speculated prior to the study whether Botox could effectively stop muscles from contracting to help manage difficult-to-control asthma.

The two Australian researchers recruited 11 patients with severe asthma for the first global clinical trial using Botox to treat severe vocal cord dysfunction in asthmatics. The researchers trialed other delivery methods but found that a bronchoscope helped guide the injections to a specific area of vocal cord tissue, where a small dose would be administered to the participants.

To evaluate the benefits of Botox injections to the vocal cords, the researchers analyzed asthma control test scores, vocal cord narrowing done by computerized tomography of the larynx and spirometry. The study’s patients received a total of 24 injections, based on how easily they could breathe after treatment.

The study aimed to relax the vocal cord muscles and remove any sensation of breathlessness through Botox injections. The researchers found that the effects of the Botox injections lasted between two and three months, with 60 percent of the patients reporting significant reductions in their symptoms. The patients experienced no difficulty swallowing after injections, but some reported side effects like softened voices.

“This treatment may not be suitable for all patients, but the early indicators are that it may be an option for those with severe upper airway distress, which is very exciting,” Bardin said, according to MedicalDaily.com.

While the researchers did not think the Botox injections would cure asthma, they did say it could help patients live better with asthma and overcome symptoms that require long hospital stays.

Lyn Dowsey, a patient in the trial, discovered that the Botox injections alleviated her severe asthma symptoms.

“I’m not choking up anymore, I can get up on my feet and move around without struggling to breathe,” Dowsey said, according to MedicalDaily.com. “I asked if I could have it elsewhere, but no.”

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology’s latest statistics, the number of United States asthma patients continues to grow, with 25 million in 2009.

Over half of those with asthma were found to have an asthma attack, but recognizing warning signs could help patients stay away from asthma triggers that provoke the attacks, like tobacco smoke, dust mites and pets.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Botox, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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