Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The problem with Botox

When it comes to spasticity reduction, Botox is the 600 pound gorilla. It is the Oracle. If Oz was the world of spasticity, Botox would be its Wizard. Allergan, the company that makes Botox dictates the conversation. Why? Cold hard cash. Allergan made significantly more than $1 billion in the third quarter of 2012 alone.

Keep in mind that Allergan makes other drugs besides Botox. And spasticity isn't the main reason Botox makes 'em money.  The main reason Botox makes money is because of its wrinkle reduction qualities. Bottom line: they have plenty of cash. And they use that cash to influence opinion. This is inevitable, but also unfortunate. The influence that can be bought chips away at a discussion of other possibilities.

What are the other possibilities?

Phenol blocks. In the book "Spasticity: Diagnosis and Management" phenol blocks are called: a "Dying Art" That Merits Revival.
Why does it merit revival? Phenol blocks do pretty much the same thing as Botox for spasticity. But it costs less. Much, much less. This is something you should discuss with your doctor. It may be true that Botox is the best option. But it may save you some money to ask about phenol blocks. How much money is saved?

For muscles in the arm/hand, this is one estimate...
Botox: $1014.84
Phenol: $7.85

Another thing about Botox. For a long time the suggestion by Allergan was that Botox should be administered, and that's it. Botox provided a "vacation" from spasticity. They are in the business of selling drugs, not in the business of reduction of spasticity in any sort of permanent way. Remember, Botox does not cure spasticity. Phenol blocks are the same. All Botox and phenol blocks do is provide a window of opportunity to to regain executive (brain) control over spastic muscles. A classic example is of somebody that cannot open their hand. Spasticity in the muscles to close the hand is so strong that they can't open the hand. Botox or a phenol block is used to weaken the muscles that close the hand. This "unmasks" the movement that was always there: Hand opening. Now the hand can open because it's not fighting the spastic muscles that are trying to close the hand. But instead of treating this as a vacation, the person works hard to get the brain re-involved in all the muscles. (Allergan has changed its tune about this with prompting by me and others. They now say: administer Botox and then get therapy.)

During the "vacation" block provide hard work can help permanently reduce spasticity. 

Otherwise, it's just a vacation.


Jeff Soltes said...

There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong. That's perfectly alright; it's the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny. The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that many of his ideas were wrong or silly or in gross contradiction to the facts; rather, the worst aspect is that some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky's ideas. The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system, and the history of our study of the solar system shows clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources. --Carl Sagan

Peter G Levine said...


Royal Palm Med Spa said...

The effects are great and there is only minimal downtime for this procedure. Some clinics charge according the the doses that you required, and some charge according to per area that you treated.

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