BOTOX Cosmetic® is best known as the go-to injectable for eliminating wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s feet, and other unsightly signs of aging. But recent studies have suggested that botulinum toxin A, the active ingredient in Botox, may also be a profound treatment for the symptoms of severe asthma.
Asthma is a disorder characterized by temporary blockage of the airways. As an asthmatic person’s lungs become constricted, they may suffer from wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. For people with severe asthma, even the simplest daily activities become limited. Exercise-triggered asthma means that walking on an incline, running, and otherwise exerting a lot of energy may queue symptoms, or even an attack. An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms of asthma turn severe, and immediate action is required so that the victim can breathe. Food-triggered asthma is an allergic reaction caused by foods like eggs, dairy, and shellfish. Although asthma is typically thought to occur in the chest, it may also affect the throat.
Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia found that nearly half of all the severe asthmatics they surveyed deal with problems in their voicebox as well as their lungs. The constriction of the voicebox due to asthma is similar to a condition called vocal cord dysphonia— or overuse of the voice—which Botox commonly treats.
Most prescription asthma medications treat only the symptoms in the lungs. Professor Phil Bardin of the Monash Medical Center told the Associated Press that the new treatment would potentially treat throat-related symptoms. "We have always wondered about why people with severe asthma would come in and say, 'My asthma is terrible', and would point to their throats.”
It turns out that in severe asthma, the voicebox can go into spasms. These spasms make it difficult for air to pass through the throat. Botox is effective in treating muscle spasms because it works by relaxing the muscles. That’s why it’s used as a wrinkle reducer—it relaxes the facial muscles that cause wrinkles. Trials are currently underway to test the effectiveness of Botox for asthmatics. If successful, asthmatics will have more choices in how they handle their disorder.
"We don't think this will cure these asthmatics but it will help them to live better with asthma," said Bardin. “They won't have asthma symptoms which make them unable to walk far or go up stairs or when their chest tightens up they think they are going to die. It will help them live with an illness that disables them."
Over twenty million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, with about 7.7 million of them reporting an asthma attack in the last year. Aside from combating wrinkles, Botox is also used to treat migraines, excessive sweating, multiple sclerosis, and other muscle movement disorders.
If you’d like to learn more about the uses for Botox, contact us today. Our representatives will assist you in scheduling a consultation with an experienced Botox specialist in your area.