Widely used by doctors to soften forehead wrinkles and reduce uncontrollably sweaty armpits, researchers are exploring botulinum toxin as a potential therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) pain.
“The Botox story is very intriguing,” says David Felson, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “It isn’t just muscles. It can paralyze nerves. Just like celebrities injecting it into wrinkles, it could have the same effect on a hip muscle. Botox could paralyze the muscle that is transmitting pain.”
This toxin may eventually be used to treat OA patients whose pain is not sufficiently controlled by traditional medicines like NSAIDs or analgesics, and for patients who may experience adverse effects from those medicines, says Dr. Felson.