The seven toxin types (A-G) have different tertiary structures and sequence differences.[35][36] While the different toxin types all target members of the SNARE family, different toxin types target different SNARE family members.[34] The A, B, and E serotypes cause human botulism, with the activities of types A and B enduring longest in vivo (from several weeks to months).[35]

Why Botox works isn’t completely clear. There’s some evidence that it may reduce the production of neurotransmitters related to pain in the areas where it’s injected. There’s also some evidence that it may have a broader effect on the brain’s pain centers, reducing the sensitivity that causes migraine sufferers to react to migraine triggers. While the exact mechanisms are poorly understood, the studies, as well as many of my patients’ experiences, do show a real benefit for many people.


BOTOX blocks neuromuscular transmission by binding to acceptor sites on motor or sympathetic nerve terminals, entering the nerve terminals, and inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. This inhibition occurs as the neurotoxin cleaves SNAP -25, a protein integral to the successful docking and release of acetylcholine from vesicles situated within nerve endings. When injected intramuscularly at therapeutic doses, BOTOX produces partial chemical denervation of the muscle resulting in a localized reduction in muscle act ivity. In addition, the muscle may atrophy, axonal sprouting may occur, and extrajunctional acetylcholine receptors may develop. There is evidence that reinnervation of the muscle may occur, thus slowly reversing muscle denervation produced by BOTOX.
Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).

In overactive bladder patients with analyzed specimens from the two phase 3 studies and the open-label extension study, neutralizing antibodies developed in 0 of 954 patients (0.0%) while receiving BOTOX 100 Unit doses and 3 of 260 patients (1.2%) after subsequently receiving at least one 150 Unit dose. Response to subsequent BOTOX treatment was not different following seroconversion in these three patients.
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing.
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