Botox Clinic Opens to Treat Spasticity

May 29, 2002
Contact: Sandy Burnett (415) 353-4400

A new clinic to treat neurological conditions with Botox will start in June under the direction of Dr. Michael Aminoff, an internationally recognized neurologist and expert in diagnosing and treating Parkinsons disease and movement disorders.

Aminoff has used Botox for over a decade to treat a variety of neurologic conditions. The main focus of the clinic will be dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by sustained muscle contractions resulting in persistently abnormal posture; spasticity, contractions of muscles causing stiff and awkward movements; and hemifacial spasm, which causes tic-like contractions in muscles activated by one facial nerve. Dystonic conditions include:

  • Torticollis, which affects head and neck posture
  • Blepharospasm, which affects the muscles around the eyes resulting in abnormal eye closing that can be severe enough to cause functional blindness

Botox is the common name for a highly purified form of botulism toxin, which can be a paralytic poison in large amounts. When injected in tiny doses into overactive muscle, it weakens the muscle for up to several months at a time, allowing more normal postures and pain relief. It is considered the treatment of choice for focal dystonias that affect only one region of the body. Botox has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 1989 to treat medical conditions involving muscular spasms or twitches.

More recently, the FDA approved the drug to reduce the appearance of frown lines between the eyebrows. It has been available as a legal off-label cosmetic wrinkle treatment and is used by UCSF Medical Center dermatologists. In addition, UCSF researchers found that Botox was a successful treatment for excessive underarm sweating, also called axillary hyperhydrosis. The FDA is considering approving Botox to treat migraines and back spasms.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact Neurology at (415) 353-2273 or neurology@ucsfmedctr.org.