It’s extremely surprising how a very deadly human toxin could turn around and become a very useful tool in the cosmetic and plastic world.Botox is short for Botulinum toxin which is a neurotoxic protein gotten from the bacterium clostridium botulinum which causes botulism,also known as food poisoning.
Naturally,botulinum toxin acts by preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon nerve endings at the neuromuscular junction,thus causing flaccid paralysis.
HOW DOES BOTOX ACT?
The botulinum toxin has three domains.Out of these three domains,only two helps in the binding and entry of the toxin into the nerve cell.
This toxin is absorbed by the gut,enters the body circulation and binds to receptors of presynaptic membranes of motor neurons in the PNS(peripheral nervous system) and cranial nerves.
Note that this botulinum toxin does not cross the blood-brain-barrier(BBB) and as such cannot affect the central nervous system. This toxin inhibits the release of acetylcholine at the synapse,thereby causing a lack of contraction in the affected muscles and leads to paralysis.
WHY IS BOTOX USED?
Botox cosmetic is generally known for causing muscle spasms as well as other actions.This unique characteristic that it possesses has been hijacked for great cosmetic purposes.Botox does not spread too far from the site of injection, and it’s action is temporary (up to some weeks or months),which accounts for its usefulness.
Botox cosmetic is used for straightening out frownlines and wrinkles that appear on the faceas a result of aging, stress and fatigue.The most common reason for use is to relax the facial muscles that causes wrinkles on the face.
Asides it’s cosmetic purpose,botox has other actions.They include
NECK SPASMS(Cervical Dystonia)
This injection is used to relax the muscles of the neck as this condition is a nerve disorder which causes the involuntary movement of the neck and shoulder,thereby leads to uncontrollable neck tilting and pains.
HYPERHIDROSIS (Excessive sweating)
When the sweat glands especially that of the underarms begin to secrete so much sweat,Botox injections can be used to reduce the amount of sweat secreted by paralysing the muscles responsible for pumping sweat to the skin surface.This use was approved by FDA in 2004.
This is a severe ,disturbing headache characterised to be one sided and usually accompanied by vomitting,nausea and visual disturbances. Its use for migraine was approved by FDA in 2010.Botox injections given can lessen the movements of the muscles that cause it in the head and neck.
This is a condition of the eye where they do not line up in the same direction. Botox injections have been given over time to treat this.
An overreactive bladder in other words mean frequent urination, increased urgency to urinate and so on.While botox can improve the efficiency of the bladder,it’s important to also know that it can also shut down the bladder.
SIDE EFFECTS OF BOTOX
Pain,swelling and bruising at injection sites
Fever and chills
Dryness of the eye
Eyelids that droop
Nausea and vomitting
And in rare cases,
Difficulty in breathing, chewing, swallowing, speaking.