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Medical News & Perspectives
July 24/31, 2002

Colon and Rectal Surgeons Are Trying Botox Treatment, Too

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JAMA. 2002;288(4):439-440. doi:10.1001/jama.288.4.439-JMN0724-3-1

Chicago—Patients with anal fissures and hemorrhoids may benefit from the same therapeutic agent others are using to regain a youthful facial appearance.

Researchers continue to discover the benefits of Botox (botulinum toxin A) for a variety of conditions. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use to treat blepharospasm, strabismus, hemifacial spasm, cervical dystonia, and glabellar (frown) lines.

Botulinum toxin is a complex protein produced by Clostridium botulinum, the anaerobic bacterium that often causes fatal paralysis in people who eat contaminated food. The toxin causes paralysis by locking the presynaptic release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. Researchers, since the 1950s, have tried to use the neuromuscular blocking effect to eliminate muscle spasm related to excessive neural activity or to weaken muscle for therapeutic purposes.