Therapeutic Uses for Botulinum Toxin Type A

Botulinum Toxin is a popular treatment to reduce wrinkles, traditionally used on the upper face to treat areas including the forehead, crow’s feet and frown lines, this drug can also be used for therapeutic purposes as well as aesthetic. Many of the following conditions have very limited options for treatment and management which means that botulinum toxin may just be the answer to your ailments that you’ve been searching for.

Prevention of Migraines

Migraines can be debilitating for the sufferer, with many unable to go about their day-to-day life when a migraine strikes. Often paired with nausea and increased sensitivity to light and smell, migraines make it difficult to do anything other than spend the day laying in a dark and quiet room.

Luckily, since 2012 botulinum toxin injections have been approved by the NHS as a treatment option for the prevention of chronic migraines. Exactly how this works is unknown, but studies suggest that botulinum toxin may relax the muscles around the head, and thereby reduce blood pressure within the brain. Other theories are that the drug might reduce the nerves’ ability to send pain signals during a migraine, or that the injections might prevent the nerves from sending signals that will lead to a migraine.

There are certain guidelines for a patient to be eligible for this treatment;

  • They must have headaches at least 15 days a month
  • The person must have not responded to at least 3 drug-based treatments intended to prevent migraines
  • The person is being appropriately managed for medication


Eligible patients will be given intramuscular injections to between 31-39 sites around the head and back of the neck, they are to be administered every 12 weeks.

In studies where a placebo drug was used, patients treated with the botulinum toxin experienced a reduction in the frequency of headache days.

The procedure takes about 15 minutes and is completed using a very small needle. Many patients find the treatment virtually painless, with some describing it as feeling like tiny pinpricks.

Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating) Treatments

Excessive sweating can be a real source of embarrassment and insecurity for the individual. For those with hyperhidrosis the sweating can happen without a trigger, and regular anti-perspirants may not be strong enough to combat this.

Hyperhidrosis often occurs under the arms, on the palms, and on the soles of the feet, due to these parts of the body having a high concentration of eccrine glands, which are what produce sweat.

Injections of botulinum toxin temporarily block the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, severe sweating is reduced.

This treatment is licensed in the UK for treating axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis but is only offered by a small number of NHS hospitals, most commonly this is a private clinic procedure. Other areas that can be treated using botulinum toxin include the hands, feet, face, and other small parts of the body such as the groin and under the breasts.

Botulinum toxin injections can be a real miracle cure for those suffering from hyperhidrosis as the treatment options for this condition are very limited.

A quick, 30-minute procedure can offer up to 8 months of protection, though the metabolism of this treatment depends on the individual.

This is a safe procedure with very few side effects as long as you are treated by a qualified practitioner. Some experience flu-like symptoms, fatigue and blurred vision after this procedure, but many patients get no side effects at all.

Gummy Smile

Those who expose a lot of gum when they smile often avoid smiling all together. For some a gummy smile can be a source of insecurity as the appearance of your smile can play a real pivotal role in your confidence.

A gummy smile is characterised by an elevated upper lip when a person smiles that exposes a lot of the gum above the top teeth. This happens when the individual has a hyperactive upper-lip, or that they have long or enlarged gums, which is known as gingival hypertrophy. This too can be exacerbated by a thin upper lip.

Injections of botulinum toxin type A at the side of each nostril and in the nasolabial folds will weaken the muscle that causes the lip to raise so much when the patient smiles, which means that the lip stays lower and covers more of the gum.

Results last approximately 3-4 months with a very quick procedure time, with full results taking place 10-14 days after the treatment. There is no surgery involved and no downtime, which further adds to the benefit of this treatment.

After this procedure it’s important to not touch, rub, apply makeup to, or massage the area for at least 4 hours so as not to interfere with the treated area.

Jawline/Masseter Reduction

A wideset jaw is often due to overused masseter muscles in the jaw. This overworked muscle can lead to TMJ disorder. People who suffer from TMJ disorder can suffer from jaw pain, headaches, ear ringing, and clicking and popping sounds.

Injections of botulinum toxin works to help manage the symptoms of this by weakening the overused muscles which means that they are less able to move and therefore the patient will be unable to clench or grind.

Like any other muscle, when it is used a lot, it will grow. By lessening the strength and therefore size of this muscle, the jawline will also appear slimmer which can make a square face look more oval or heart shaped. A slimmer jaw can also help feminise a person’s face.

This treatment is virtually painless but might take a little longer than other botulinum toxin treatments for the results to appear, the full result should be seen within 4-6 weeks and will last up to 6 months.

Botulinum toxin can help eliminate headaches that are caused by teeth grinding, which is an incredible relief for those suffering from TMJ disorder. This treatment can also help those who do grind or clench their teeth avoid costly dental work caused by these actions. The relief after this treatment allows the patient to finally perform daily activities that most take for granted such as talking, chewing and swallowing, without pain.

Making Your Decision About Therapeutic Uses for Botulinum Toxin Type A

When it comes to cosmetic injectable procedures, whether they are for aesthetic or therapeutic reasons, it is paramount that you make informed decisions. Make sure that you choose a reputable practitioner who has a medical background to ensure that you are in the safest hands to minimise any potential risks.

For more information on booking these treatments as a private patient of Dr. Zack Ally please visit our clinic website here.

To book as a cosmetic model as part of our training days at a heavily reduced rate, please visit our model website here.

If you are a medical professional and would like to learn how to administer these treatments, please view our available courses here.

Helen Gavin
Helen Gavin

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