The Necessity of a Locally Active Antidote in the Clinical Practice of Botulinum Neurotoxin Therapy: Short Communication

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Jul 14;58(7):935. doi: 10.3390/medicina58070935.


Recently, it was demonstrated that copper complexes and 3,4-diaminopyridine can effectively reduce the activity of the botulinum neurotoxin light chain. The aim of the present study was to indicate that treatment with an antidote may have a major influence, not only on the extremely rare disease of botulism, but also on the much more frequently occurring side effects experienced during BoNT therapy. This was a retrospective chart review of patients who were regularly treated with BoNT for various indications. The percentage of patients with clinical signs of overdosing was determined. In patients with facial dystonia, double vision and ptosis occurred as side effects. In patients with cervical dystonia, neck weakness and dysphagia were observed as the most frequent side effects. In oromandibular and oropharyngeal dystonia, abnormal tongue movements and dysphagia occurred frequently. In writer's cramp and mild post-stroke hand spasticity, severe paresis of the injected and non-injected finger muscles was observed. Additionally, in the BoNT treatment of pain syndromes (such as tension headaches or migraines), neck weakness may occur. Across all indications for clinical BoNT applications, clinical signs of BoNT overdosing may occur in up to 5% of the BoNT-treated patients. Therefore, the development of an antidote for BoNT overdoses would be very much appreciated and would have a major influence on the management of BoNT therapy.

Keywords: 3,4-diaminopyridine; adverse events; antidote; botulinum neurotoxin; copper complexes; muscle paralysis.

MeSH terms

  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A* / adverse effects
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A* / therapeutic use
  • Deglutition Disorders* / chemically induced
  • Deglutition Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Dystonia* / chemically induced
  • Dystonia* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antidotes
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.