By the way, doctor: Could Botox help my father, who has had a stroke?

Published: October, 2006

Q. My father had a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on one side. He's aware of all that's going on and can talk some, but he has severe spasticity in his left elbow, shoulder, and hand, along with muscle atrophy. Would Botox injections help the painful spasms in his arm and hand?

A. Botox is a drug derived from botulinum toxin. At high doses, it paralyzes muscles. At lower ones, it relaxes them. It's well-known as a wrinkle reducer. But Botox was originally approved as a treatment for uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm) and misaligned eyes (strabismus), and it's used for a number of neurological conditions that feature overactive muscles.

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