Dystonia and Treatment with Botulinum Toxin

What is Dystonia?
Dystonia is characterized by involuntary sustained muscle contraction resulting in repetitive movements, twisting and/or abnormal postures. Currently there is a limited understanding of the underlying cause of dystonia; however, this condition can appear in a variety of forms.

Dystonia may occur as a primary condition (idiopathic dystonia) in which dystonia is the sole manifestation. Also, dystonia can be associated with a wide variety of neurological conditions (e.g. parkinsonism, Wilsonís disease, Huntingtonís disease etc.).

Botulinum Treatment for Dystonia and other movement disorders

Most people know of Botulinum Toxin (BTn) injections as a treatment for wrinkles; however, the true wealth in this chemical treatment is its overall effectiveness in the management of dystonia and other movement disorders.

The Movement Disorders Treatment Center at the Parkinsonís Institute specializes in the use of BTn for a variety of conditions that result in involuntary muscle contractions including primary dystonia, Parkinsonís disease, essential tremor, hemifacial spasm and Touretteís syndrome.

Currently, there are two forms (serotypes) of BTn approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in selected medical conditions. These are BTn-A (Botox) and BTn-B (Myoblock). Both of these forms are now used in clinical practice to treat dystonia, hemifacial spasm and wrinkles. However, the indications are expanding and may include treatment of tremor and pain.

For most patients with these conditions, BTn injections provide significant but variable relief of symptoms that lasts for weeks to months (an average of 3 months). However, repeated injections are required to sustain benefit over long periods of time.

The following include some of the conditions treated by BTn at our treatment center -

Hemifacial Spasm
Cervical Dystonia
Oromandibular Dystonia
Focal and Segmental Limb Dystonias

BTn may be quite effective; however, should be undertaken by a physician who understands the anatomy and its proper use.


Botulinum toxin therapy is safe and effective in the treatment of strabismus and in the symptomatic treatment of various forms of Dystonia.

Botulinum toxin therapy is not curative in chronic neurological disorders.

For most indications, botulinum toxin should be used by committed interdisciplinary teams of physicians and related health care professionals with appropriate instrumentation.

The safety of botulinum therapy during pregnancy, breast feeding, and chronic use in childhood is unknown.

If you would like to set up an appointment with a Movement Disorders Specialist at the Parkinsonís Institute and/or if you have questions of how Botulinum Toxin may benefit you, please call 1-800-655-2273.

2500 Hospital Drive, Bldg #10, Suite 1 | Mountain View, CA 94040
650.770.0201 main | 650.770.0204 fax (Clinic Secure)