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Botox Through The Ages

Botox Through The Ages


Botox Through The Ages

by Virginia Anthony

Between 1817 and 1822, the German physician and poet Justinus Kerner identified botulinum toxin as a "sausage poison" and "fatty poison". As this bacterium often stimulated poisoning by maturing in improperly handled or made meat products. It was Kerner who first conceived a potential therapeutic use of botulinum toxin. In 1870, Mller, another German physician, coined the name botulism, from Latin botulus = "sausage".

In 1897, Emile van Ermengem distinguished the bacterium Clostridium botulinum to be the producer of botulinum toxin. In 1928 Snipe and Hermann Sommer for the first time processed the toxin. In 1949, Burgen's group revealed that botulinium toxin blocks neuromuscular transmission. In the late 1960s Allan Scott and Edward Schantz were the first to work on a standardized botulinum toxin preparation for therapeutic practices.

By 1973, Alan B Scott, MD, of Smith-Kettlewell Institute employed botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) in monkey experiments, and, in 1980, he formally used BTX-A for the first time in humans to treat strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly coordinated with each other.

In December 1989, BTX-A (BOTOX) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of strabismus, blepharospasm, and hemifacial spasm in patients over 12 years old. The cosmetic effect of BTX-A was initially discovered by ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers and dermatologist Alastair Carruthers, a husband-and-wife team working in Vancouver, Canada.

On April 15, 2002, the FDA declared the approval of botulinum toxin type A (BOTOX Cosmetic) to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). BTX-A has also been approved for the treatment of excessive underarm sweating. In June, 2009, its use for treating spasticity led a UK doctor to successfully treat an Australian man who had been confined to a wheelchair following a stroke 20 years ago.

In addition to its cosmetic application, Botox is used in the treatment of cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis - a neuromuscular disorder involving the head and neck), blepharospasm (excessive blinking), severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and achalasia (failure of the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax). Local intradermal injection of BTX-A is helpful in chronic focal painful neuropathies.

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