Munson Health
Botulinum Toxin Injections -- Medical

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by Aaron S

(Botulinum Toxin Type A; Botulinum Toxin Type B; Botox Injections)


Reasons for Procedure

The injection is FDA-approved to treat:
The injection has also been used to treat other conditions, such as:
  • Tension headaches
  • Achalasia —spasm of esophageal muscles causing difficulties in swallowing
  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Muscle spasms due to cerebral palsy
  • Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Spasticity in leg and arm muscles due to brain injury/stroke
  • Focal limb dystonias
  • Incontinence due to bladder problems
  • Anal sphincter disorders
  • Peripheral nerve pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder (jaw disorder)
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Possible Complications

Complications are rare. When they occur, they are temporary and mild. Side effects are related to the site of injection. For example, if injections take place near the eyes, there may be complications with the eyelids or brow line.
Temporary issues may include:
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Stinging around the injection sites
The following are less common reactions. They are generally mild and do not last long.
Other complications that may occur include:
  • Excessive weakness of the muscle around the eyes—can cause drooping of the eyelids or obstruction of vision
  • Difficulty swallowing—can occur in patients receiving injections in their neck
  • Compensatory hyperhidrosis—people being treated for hyperhidrosis may develop increased sweat production at another area of the body
  • Excessive weakness or wasting in certain muscles—the injection may slow any improvement in the muscle
  • Neck weakness in people with long, thin necks
  • Risk of the botulinum toxin spreading beyond the injection area—may cause botulism symptoms, including difficulty breathing and death in severe cases. Children with cerebral palsy may be at a higher risk for this side effect.
The toxin can also interact with medications such as antibiotics. Tell your doctor about all of the medications that you are taking.
You should not have botox if you:
  • Have an infection or inflammation in the area where botox will be injected
  • Are sensitive to the ingredients in botox
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding


American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons



Canadian Dermatology Association

Health Canada



Allergan Physician Production Information. Botox cosmetic (botulinum toxin type A). Published April 2008.

FDA approves Botox to treat chronic migraines. US Food & Drug Administration website. Available at: Published October 15, 2010. Accessed February 12, 2014.

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Ward A, Roberts G, Warner J, et al. Cost-effectiveness of botulinum toxin type A in the treatment of post-stroke spasticity. J Rehabil Med. 2005;37(4):252-257.

11/4/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance FDA gives update on botulinum toxin safety warnings. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Updated August 3, 2009. Accessed November 4, 2009.

3/19/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance FDA approves Botox to treat spasticity in flexor muscles of the elbow, wrist and fingers. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Updated March 9, 2010. Accessed March 19, 2010.

5/17/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Jackson JL, Kuriyama A, Hayashino Y. Botulinum toxin A for prophylactic treatment of migraine and tension headaches in adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(16):1736-1745.


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