You've heard of using Botox to smooth out wrinkles, but the drug could be the next treatment for asthma.
A shot of Botox, but his time, not in the forehead. Australian researchers are testing Botox injections to ease asthma symptoms. It's a shot to the vocal chords to alleviate spasms, something that impacts about half of asthma patients.
“Many of these patients end up in numerous hospitalizations they don't respond as well to the asthma treatment as well and they end up with large doses of steroids," Laila W. Alidina, M.D., Ph.D., of Allergy Specialists of Central Florida, says.
Spasms happen when the muscles around the vocal cords constrict, making it difficult for air to pass through. The idea is Botox relaxes those muscles, making it easier to breathe. But Dr. Alidina says there are some concerns with using the toxin.
"You don't want to paralyze it to the extent it will also cause swallowing problems because there are many nerves around that area that are associated with swallowing," Dr. Alidina explains.
Dr. Alidina also warns Botox isn't a cure.
"It really is treating more the door that is leading into the lungs, which is the vocal cords,” she says. “It really does not treat the asthma so when such treatment is done, you still have to treat the asthma."
But for those with asthma, hope for a new treatment is a breath of fresh air.
Botox has previously been used on people with vocal cord dysfunction. It's also used to treat excessive sweating, crossed eyes, and migraines.
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