What are Neurotoxin Injections?
Neurotoxin injections are most commonly known for their successful use in cosmetic therapies.
Initially, neurotoxin injections were approved to treat strabismus (crossed eyes), blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelids) and cervical dystonia (muscle contractions in the neck). The FDA approved it to be used for relaxing frown lines in the glabella area between the eyes on the forehead.
Neurotoxin injections reduce facial lines and wrinkles formed from the aging process and by hyper-functional muscles. They can also be used to treat excessive sweating.
Botox is one of the types of neurotoxins. It is a purified protein toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Although Botox is a toxin, there have been no serious side effects reported. This is because Botox and other neurotoxins are used in extremely small amounts for medical treatments and do not spread throughout the body.
Procedure of Neurotoxin Injection
The area to be injected is cleaned thoroughly. A topical anesthetic cream is applied and the neurotoxin material is injected into the area with a fine needle.
When the neurotoxin is injected into a muscle, it blocks the conduction of nerve impulses to that area and as a result, the muscle weakens. As the muscle weakens, the skin overlying the muscle relaxes and the wrinkles in the skin gradually soften and often disappear.
The conditions which are contraindicated for the use of neurotoxin injections include:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Previous history of reaction to the toxin
- Neurological diseases ( myasthenia gravis, Eaton-Lambert syndrome, neuropathies)
- Age - below 12 years
- Infection or inflammation at the injection site
- Use of certain medications such as aminoglycoside antibiotics (may increase the effect of the neurotoxin), chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (may reduce effect), and blood-thinning agents, warfarin or aspirin (may result in bruising)
Adverse Effects of Neurotoxin Injections
Although neurotoxin injections are well accepted, they are associated with certain adverse effects such as redness, bruising, infection, and pain at the injection site.
Dizziness, difficulty in swallowing, headache, and muscle weakness may also occur when these medications are injected into muscles. Double vision, drooping or swollen eyelid, dry eyes, reduced blinking, and increased sensitivity to light may also occur.