In view of the steadily rising demand for treatment of dystonia with botulinum toxin (BT), a relatively expensive neurologic paralytic agent, an exploratory study was undertaken to assess the extent to which dystonia and BT treatment affect the quality of people's lives. One hundred thirty adults with a current diagnosis of dystonia completed two generic measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at regular intervals over a minimum of 6 months. One hundred two participants were receiving regular injections of BT; 28 were not taking BT. The HRQoL instruments used were the EuroQol and the Short Form 36 health survey questionnaire (SF-36). Compared with general population samples, study participants reported greater impairment on all EuroQol and SF-36 dimensions and gave a lower rating to their own health status. Participants with nonfocal dystonia had significantly more problems with usual activities than participants with focal dystonia, and a higher number had problems with mobility and self-care. The groups reported similar levels of pain and emotional well-being. Small improvements in HRQoL were seen after the administration of BT, although few of these were statistically significant. The study results offer further psychometric evidence for the discriminant and construct validity of both the EuroQol and the SF-36.