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BOTOX® not only gets rid of wrinkles but also treats seasonal allergies


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If you’re an allergy sufferer you know the misery of sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses. But did you know that a popular wrinkle remedy may ease these symptoms?


BOTOX® is the brand name for onabotulinumtoxin A which is one of seven types of botulinum toxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. When ingested this toxin causes botulism, a kind of food poisoning that cause respiratory paralysis and death. But the paralytic power of this toxin also can be harnessed for medical use.

BOTOX® was originally cultured and used to treat muscular-related eye disorders, such as misaligned eyes or eye spasms. It has also been found to be helpful in treating migraine headaches. But popularity of the toxin exploded in the 1990s after a Canadian ophthalmologist, Jean Carruthers, observed a decrease in the frown lines of patients using the drug. She worked with her husband, a dermatologist, to develop a version that could be used to paralyze the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles. It’s a very effective, although temporary, beauty enhancer.

How BOTOX® works

Botulinum toxins work by preventing nerve terminals from releasing acetyl choline, a chemical that transmits that impulses to adjacent nerves. Since the nerve impulses are blocked the muscle can’t expand or contract and it remains paralyzed until new nerve terminals grow to replace the blocked ones. This process can take up to 8 weeks which explains the long lasting effects of Botox treatment.

BOTOX® works for allergies too

Surprisingly, recent research has shown that BOTOX® may also reduce the severity of some symptoms of seasonal allergies. According to a literature review published in “Current Allergy and Asthma Reports”, “intranasal botulinum toxin A administration appears to be a safe and effective treatment method for decreasing rhinitis symptoms in rhinitis patients with a long-lasting effect.”

One double-blinded clinical study, published in the journal “Acta Oto-Laryngologica” compared the effects injecting two different concentrations of Botox versus a saline placebo. Results showed that both levels of Botox significantly reduced itching, sneezing, nasal drainage, and nasal blockage compared to the control. The effects of a single treatment lasted up to 8 weeks.

Another study, published in the “Journal for Oto-rhino-laryngology and its Related Specialties” reports of a single case where BOTOX® gel was applied to the inside of the nose with a sponge. The patient saw results in the first 5 days with a decrease in “rhinomanometric flow” which is the technical term for a runny nose. The effects lasted only 2 weeks, probably because the toxin was applied topically inside the nose rather than by injection.

How can something so deadly be so good for you?

The answer lies partly in the old adage “the dose makes the poison.” Botulinium toxin A is one of the deadliest substances on earth and ingesting a spoonful of spoiled potato salad containing only millionth of a gram of toxin is enough to kill you. By comparison, the amount of BOTOX® used to treat allergies is approximately 100 billionths of a gram, nearly 1000 times less than a deadly dose. When properly administered, the toxin can be safely used for medical purposes.  

Is BOTOX® a good option for your allergies?

If you’re interested in learning more about BOTOX® for your allergies (or other treatment modalities such as allergen avoidance, nasal decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, and immunotherapy) call now to schedule a consultation with Dr. Caballero at at her Park Ridge, IL (northwest Chicago area) office.




Randy Schueller Randy is Director of Operations for Advanced Sinus and Allergy Center. He has over 30 years experience in Research and Development and is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

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