Exploring the role of botulinum toxin in critical care

Expert Rev Neurother. 2021 Aug;21(8):881-894. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2021.1958678. Epub 2021 Aug 9.


Introduction: Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is one of the most potent and extensively studied neurotoxins with clinical applications across several different medical specialties. This review article explores the latest evidence for therapeutic applications of BoNT in patients receiving critical management in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Areas covered: The authors did a literature search in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Texas Medical Center Library database for studies describing the use of BoNT in a critical care setting. They extracted information on study design, patient selection, methodology, and results of relevant studies. Based on initial identification of 85 studies and after conducting screening, the authors identified 61 studies to be included in this review. In an ICU setting, BoNT has been used for several neurological and non-neurological indications. However, the supporting evidence is mostly limited to small observational studies.

Expert opinion: The use of BoNT in this setting is largely underutilized due to paucity of well-designed clinical trials and financial barriers. Further research is needed to provide evidence for the safety and efficacy of BoNT and to optimize the dosing and injection techniques for various conditions encountered in this setting.

Keywords: Botulinum toxin; Iatrogenic botulism; botox; critical care medicine; intensive care unit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins* / therapeutic use
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clostridium botulinum*
  • Critical Care
  • Humans


  • Botulinum Toxins
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A