The many surprising uses of Botox

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Most people think of wrinkles when they think of Botox, but the neurotoxin has continued to surprise the medical community with seemingly endless uses.

Let’s start with sweating. Not every bride dances down the aisle, but most of them worry about sweating on their big day. Botox can be used for that.

And then there are chronic migraines.

“Pretty much every day,” Mena Mazure said. “I had to schedule my life around my headaches.”

Mazure suffered with migraines daily until 10 years ago when Dr. Charles Argoff, a neurologist and pain specialist at Albany Medical Center, began giving her Botox.

“The first day I woke up and said, ‘Hey, I don’t have a headache,’” Mazure recalled. “’This is amazing to have life back and not have a headache.’”

Dr. Argoff agreed.

“It’s probably the go-to medicine right now,” he said. “Not only because it’s effective but because it is quite safe. It is safer than taking a medicine every day.”

Since it was approved nearly 30 years ago, Botox has helped people in more ways than they ever imagined.

Urologists use it to help overactive bladders, and ophthalmologists have been using it since it was first approved to treat people who have crossed eyes, known as strabismus.

For Chris Marcella, it was her overactive jaw muscle that brought her to the Williams Center for Plastic Surgery and Dr. Ed Williams.

Marcella does theater and never wants people to take her picture because of the size of one side of her jaw from grinding her teeth.

“The muscle gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and then it is sore and swollen, and it gives me headaches,” she said.

So every three months, Dr. Williams gives her Botox to relax the muscle and get it back down to size.

“The bottom line is Botox works on relaxing muscles, and let’s face it, we have a body full of muscles,” he said.

And those muscles can cause all kinds of problems, like neck spasms, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Botox for, too. Here’s how it works.

“Our nerve says do something, our neurotransmitter goes over to the muscle and says contract, and what it does is the protein just blocks it,” Dr. Williams explained.

As a result, babies who have surgery on a cleft lip have Botox injected into the scar to freeze the muscles and allow it to heal nicely. It has also been successfully used for uncontrolled blinking, too.

Although Botox has not been FDA approved for every medical issue mentioned, once a drug is approved by the FDA, doctors are legally allowed to prescribe it for any medical issue they think it will help.

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