View Full Version : Botox used in the Treatment of Tourettes

03-11-04, 11:11 PM
Botox Breakthrough

April 23, 2003 Botox may be known as the ultimate vanity drug -but many regular users are not interested in looks. Botox injections are now being used to treat a variety of medical conditions including a neurological disorder.
Most of us now know botox injections can wipe out wrinkles, but the neurotoxin was originally approved in the United States 14 years ago to correct crossed eyes. Since then it's been used to treat everything from cerebral palsy to tourette's syndrome.

"It's been a rough ride for probably most of my life."

Josh Barnett, 29, is a computer wiz with a sharp wit and a difficult disorder. He has tourette's syndrome. It's a neurological condition characterized by ticks such as blinking, repetitive throat clearing and shoulder shrugging. Josh would also involuntarily shout, bark and yell obscenities.

"I just wanted to hide my head in a hole do nothing make it all go away," said Josh Barnett, Tourette's patient.

Josh was on huge amounts of medication to control the tics and outbursts, but they weren't working. He was a wreck. His vocal chords were being damaged, neighbors complained about his loud noises and he couldn't keep a job. His doctor --Bennett Leventhal at the University of Chicago-- decided it was time to get creative.

"One of the novel ideas was to inject one of his vocal chords to partially paralyze it so you couldn't make the sound as loudly as he was making it" said Dr. Bennett Leventhal, psychiatrist, U of C Hospitals.

That's when botox entered the treatment picture. The purified toxin has the ability to stop nerves from contracting muscles for months at a time.

"The idea is to paralyze it enough so that it gets out of spasm but it does not get totally weak," said Dr. Jacquelynne Corey, otolaryngologist, U of C Hospitals.

With the help of an imaging machine doctors deliver the botox through his neck while josh is awake.

"I literally feel his neck where the cartilage is"

He's been undergoing the botox therapy for about a year and the results are amazing.

"I tried it the first time it was a miracle."

The barking, shouting and ticks have all but stopped. About the only side effect Josh experiences on occasion is a hoarse voice.

Doctors are at a loss to explain how this really works. But one theory is that josh's inability to physically make the noises --also stops the cycle of feed back --telling the brain to keep doing whatever it is doing.

"I think we have learned a lot from this particular procedure and this particular patient that will ultimately help a lot of other patients. "

For the first time in a long time Josh feels in control of his own body. He's now focusing on getting a job as a computer consultant and he hopes his success story will bring hope to others with tourette's.

"My life I'm hoping to get on with my life and be as normal as possible."

Botox injections last about three months. Results as promising as Josh's are encouraging other doctors across the country to try botox "off label," which means it's given to patients for purposes other than those approved by the food and drug administration.

03-11-04, 11:16 PM
I realize the article is old, but I have been having botox treatments for my TS for over a year now and it works. It is very painful depending on the where the shots are given, especially in the face or around the eyes.

All my doctor does is feel for the muscle where the tic is occuring and that is where the injection goes. The most injections I have had at one time is about 35. However, one individual I know with TS has had over 100 injections. The cost is expensive but I have great insurance and I just pay a $20 Co-Pay

I also find the article interesting because botox is used to treat the vocal outbursts that are associated with tourettes and the shots are given into the vocal chords. For this, I have to say ouch.