Botulin toxin (Botox) is a potent toxin from the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. It is imperative therefore that anyone administering Botox Has a true understanding about not only the procedure, but the potential side effects, pharmacology and anatomy of the areas injected. So it follows that in our view safe use of Botox should be restricted to clinicians who are used to handling, prescribing and administering medication as well as recognising and managing side effects if and when they occur.
It is important also that patients have a good understanding about the procedure beforehand. So let’s start with a bit more information about the botulinum toxin. The bacteria Clostridium botulinum was actually identified in the late 19th century from contaminated meats! The toxin it produced was responsible for a lot of deaths at this time by causing the disease ‘botulism’, an illness which causes a number of symptoms including trouble swallowing, painful cramps, shivers and shakes and muscle paralysis. As this includes the muscles involved in breathing one unfortunate outcome from the disease is death.
Around the time of the Second World War the toxin from this bacteria was actually identified. Soon after its mechanism of action, the means by which it exerts its effect at a cellular level was determined. However, not surprisingly really considering its lethal legacy, it was some years until Botulin toxin A was used in human trials for medicinal purposes.
In 1979 a paper on the use of Botox for eye squints was published in the journal ‘Opthalmology‘.
After this landmark study its use for various other neurological symptoms was studied including for muscle spasms and spasticity resulting in it gaining FDA approval for a number of ailments around 1990.