Monday, January 28, 2008

Botulinum Toxin: a safe treatment option for symptoms of dystonia.

We read about demands for safer administration of botulinum toxin by attaching notices on packaging and information to physicians. In this instance media in the United States of America reports the death of 16 people allegedly linked to the use of botulinum toxin injections.

Looking further than the original article makes good sense. We sympathize with the families of those who died and indeed think of the people themselves and how life can be cut short when least expected. However, much more information is required.

What do we know about the group making demands for stronger warnings? Do we know what their motivation for this request is? Were there other medical complications present when these people died?

What are the facts of which we are aware in relation to the use of botulinum toxin?

In coming weeks it will be interesting to hear more about this issue. Meanwhile, we do know that in relation to treating the symptoms of certain forms of dystonia, botulinum toxin is the favoured treatment. There is a great deal of evidence stating botulinum toxin is also a safe treatment.

Talking to your treating neurologist, family doctor or some other member of your treatment team is a good place to start if you have any questions about your treatment. The drug companies in question are reputable and have sound policies of corporate responsibility.

By all means, follow news articles about these warnings but please, do not consider changing your treatment plan without discussing this with the appropriate people first. The relief gained for people with dystonia using botulinum toxin is very well documented. I am travelling 1,600 kilometres to Brisbane next week for botulinum toxin treatment at The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. My treatment team is indeed professional, trustworthy and reassuring, when ever I have questions about my dystonia or any form of treatment.

Follow the highlighted links in this article to understand better the concerns raised and watch for further information as it comes to light.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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