Botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent

Pharmacol Ther. 1996;72(1):13-24. doi: 10.1016/s0163-7258(96)00091-5.


Botulinum toxin is a presynaptic neuromuscular blocking agent that, when injected intramuscularly in minute quantities, can produce selective muscle weakness. This property is employed therapeutically to provide symptomatic relief in conditions related to excessive muscle activities in strabismus, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, cervical dystonia, spasmodic dysphonia (adductor type), and jaw closing dystonia. It is investigational for a long list of medical conditions. It is a marketed drug in a number of countries in the world, but its use has only been approved by different regulatory agencies for use in a limited number of conditions. The long-term effects, appropriate dose for children, and in pregnancy, and maximum dose without causing toxicity remain unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Botulinum Toxins / administration & dosage
  • Botulinum Toxins / adverse effects
  • Botulinum Toxins / chemistry
  • Botulinum Toxins / immunology
  • Botulinum Toxins / metabolism
  • Botulinum Toxins / pharmacology
  • Botulinum Toxins / therapeutic use*
  • Diffusion
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Dystonia / drug therapy
  • Eye Diseases / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Spasm / drug therapy


  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins