May 27, 2002 ORLANDO, May 25 – Botulinum toxin A (BTX) injections, commonly known as botox, show promise as a treatment for a variety of lower urinary tract dysfunctions, according to a study presented by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the American Urological Association Centennial Celebration Annual Meeting. Results will be published in abstract 98 in the AUA proceedings.
“Bladder dysfunction affects a staggering number of people worldwide. The use of botox injections can offer many of these patients a safe, but temporary, solution to this embarrassing problem,” said Michael Chancellor, M.D., professor of urology and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
In the study, 50 patients were injected with BTX into the bladder or urethra. Patients suffered from a variety of voiding dysfunctions, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, overactive bladder, and interstitial cystitis (IC). Each experienced involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle, which either caused incontinence typified by either uncontrolled voiding of urine or the inability to completely empty the bladder.
Forty-one of the 50 patients, or 82 percent, reported a decrease or absence of incontinence after the injections. The decrease was seen within seven days of the injection and symptoms were alleviated for approximately six months. None of the patients experienced long-term complications from the treatment such as stress incontinence or urinary retention.
BTX acts by binding to the nerve endings of muscles, blocking the release of the chemical that causes the muscle to contract. When injected into specific muscles, the muscle becomes paralyzed or weakened, but leaves surrounding muscles unaffected, allowing for normal muscle function.
Common urologic conditions like neurogenic detrusor hyperreflexia and overactive bladder are caused by involuntary contractions of the detrusor muscle, which controls the bladder. This new therapy helps alleviate the contractions, restoring normal bladder function.
Over 17 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder, a condition that significantly affects the patient’s quality of life. An estimated 80 percent of these patients do not seek help or treatment for this condition. Overactive bladder is characterized by the following conditions: frequency, urinating more than eight times in a 24 hour period; urgency, the immediate and strong urge to urinate; and urge incontinence, the inability to suppress urgency resulting in the leaking or loss of urine.
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