Cerebral palsy botox treatment

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted February 22, 2007


Botox is best known as a cosmetic injection people receive to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.  However, for some children with cerebral palsy, botox is now being used to treat symptoms of the disability by relieving uncontrollable muscle tightness which prevents normal function.

UPDATE 2/2008: Botox cerebral palsy treatment has been associated with an increased risk of serious and potentially fatal reactions. Considerably higher doses are used to treat cerebal palsy, which have not been approved by the FDA. The Toxin may spread to other parts of the body, potentially resulting in Botox problems like:

  • Weakness
  • Double or Blurred Vision
  • Drooping Eyelids
  • Slurred Speech
  • Dry Mouth
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Respiratory Distress
  • Death

Cerebral palsy is a disability which involves problems with movement control and muscle coordination.  It results from brain damage suffered before, during or immediately after birth.  In some cases, cerebral palsy may be caused by a medical mistake at birth which could have been prevented.

>>INFORMATION:  Cerebral palsy medical malpractice

Once damage to the child’s brain has been sustained, there is no cure for cerebral palsy.  However, the condition is not progressive, and the damage does not get worse as the child gets older.  Therefore, many families look for cerebral palsy treatment options to help the child cope with the disability and improve their functional ability.

Botox is the common name for the Botulinum Toxin.  For treatment of cerebral palsy, botox is used in its purified form to control symptoms of spasticity, including involuntary muscle contractions.  The toxin works by binding to the nerve endings where they join with the muscles, preventing the nerve from signaling the muscles to contract.

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the disability.  It involves an inability to relax muscles, resulting in stiff, jerky and difficult movements.  For children with spastic cerebral palsy, botox has been shown to provide better control of movements and increased ability to stretch.

Following the botox injection, cerebral palsy symptoms usually show improvement a few days later.  Depending on how much medication is injected and how it is given, the botox treatment effects can last from four to eight months.

Cerberal palsy botox treatment has not been approved by the FDA.  However, because botox has been approved for other uses, many doctors prescribe the drug “off-label” for children with the disability.  Neurologists have maintained that botox is safe for children with cerebral palsy when prescribed appropriately, and it can be given again and again.  They indicate that side effects are limited, and could include temporary weakness in the treated muscles or flu-like symptoms in rare cases.

Researchers estimate that 8 out of 10 children with cerebral palsy receiving botox had noticeable improvements in their symptoms.  Reports have indicated that botox injections have helped the children do things they could never do before, from little things like holding a pen to major advances like running or talking for the first time.

>>ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Cerebral palsy resources


The cerebral palsy lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk represent children who have suffered the disability as a result of a medical mistake at the time of birth.  If cerebral palsy could have been prevented with the exercise of proper medical care, benefits may be available for the families to cover the expenses of cerebral palsy treatments.

To speak with an attorney about your families legal rights, request a free consultation.

1 Comment • Add Your Comments

Add Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide contact information below and additional private comments if you want an attorney to contact you to review a potential case.

    The information below will not be published to this page.

  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.