Monday, July 23, 2007

Lest we forget where BOTOX comes from....

Several recent scares with Boutulism food poisoning should be a reason to reexamine where BOTOX comes from. At right is a high magnification image of botulism spores.

Castleberry's Food Co. of Augusta,GA recalled more than 90 types of canned chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and other meat products. Cans of chili sauce made by the company were found in the homes of an Indiana couple and two children in Texas who had been hospitalized with botulism toxicity. All four are expected to survive. Botulism can be lethal by paralyzing the repiratory muscles when ingested in quantity.

Boulinum toxin is the product of the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. A layman's description of how botulinum toxin works courtesy of Wikipedia:

BOTOX (the cosmetic) came from the observations of an opthamologist who was treating a patient for blepharospasm (BOTOX's initial clinical use) and noticed his patient's wrinkles got better in his forehead. Likewise BOTOX's use for treating migraines came from the observation of a Plastic Surgeron who was treating wrinkles (both surgically & with BOTOX) and kept being told his patients headache's were getting better. BOTOX is now used from everything to hyperhidrosis (extra sweating) in the palm or armpit, esophageal spasm, anal fissures, constipation, and 1001 other novel applications.

A competitor preparation of botulinum toxin called Reloxin is due to be introduced to the US later this year and will finally give some competition to lower the price for these kinds of medicines.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

can botox injections be used to stop Frey's syndrome (extreme sweating along the side of the face when eating)? This is a socially disturbing condition, as one cannot go out to a restaurant to dine.

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

I'd never heard of this, but apparently it can.

See: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/102527227/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0