Sep. 7, 2000 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 3, 2000) -- Although in its purified form botulinum toxin is of one of the world's most potent poisons, demand for this injectable agent used to soften frown lines, crows feet and other wrinkles has never been greater. Over the last few years, new uses for botulinum toxin have been discovered, including administering it to counter hyperhidrosis.
Speaking today at Academy 2000, the American Academy of Dermatology's summer scientific meeting, dermatologist Kevin Pinski, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Northwestern University, Chicago, discussed the advances and new uses of botulinum toxin.
"The injection of botulinum toxin into the small muscles in the face softens the appearance of lines and wrinkles," said Dr. Pinski. "In addition, botulinum toxin decreases the patient's ability to frown or squint which prevents the progressive worsening of these lines over time. Thus, botulinum toxin is both corrective and preventative for aging skin."
Botulinum toxin is also being used in a number of other areas to improve aesthetic problems. For example, a more open-eyed look can be achieved nonsurgically by using botulinum toxin to elevate the brow. The lower eyelids can also be softened with botulinum toxin injected under the lash margin. It can also be used for the lines on the side of the nose ("bunny" or "crunch" lines) and to soften the upper part of the area between the lips and the nose.
New techniques using botulinum toxin are also helping individuals who suffer from excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a disorder of excessive sweating that involves the eccrine sweat glands and can cause considerable emotional and social stigma.
Botulinum toxin is injected into the underarm skin or the skin of the palms and soles of the feet. There it paralyzes the sweat glands of the skin which are responsible for excessive perspiration. The injections can be performed in an office setting and are easily tolerated without anesthesia. It is believed that they can be repeated indefinitely once or twice a year to maintain dryness.
"Patients afflicted with hyperhidrosis can routinely soak through clothing in a matter of minutes, and resort to pads, shields, absorbent tissues and frequent changes of clothing to cope with the disorder," said Dr. Pinski. "This new technique utilizing botulinum toxin is now successfully being administered to control severe sweating."
The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of over 13,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the skin; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; supporting and enhancing patient care; and promoting a lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM or http://www.aad.org.
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