Botox Brings Back the Voice
April 22, 2004
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Botox may be the rage for smoothing wrinkles but another set of adults can now sing its praises. Results from a long-term study show a Botox injection helps restore the voices of people with a voice disorder caused by spasms in their vocal cord muscles.
Nearly all of the 36 patients with spasmodic dysphonia in the University of Michigan study showed dramatic and reproducible improvement on their quality of life questionnaires, which surveyed voice, emotional, social and physical functioning issues.
On a scale of 100, with 100 being perfect, patients went from an average score of 30 before the first injection to an average score of about 80 after. Improvements continued with six injections. This result counters the argument that the effect of Botox diminishes after repeated injections. Thirty of the patients still receive injections twice a year.
Botox has been used off-label for years to help people with spasmodic dysphonia, a rare and often-misdiagnosed voice disorder that makes the voice sound strained, broken or breathy. The shots relax the muscles in the vocal cords, just as they do to the muscles in the face of those who use Botox for cosmetic purposes.
According to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association, 50,000 people in North America have the condition. Many more may be misdiagnosed with other voice or even emotional problems. The condition usually affects adults, typically starting in mid-adulthood, and women are more prone to develop it. Severity of symptoms can vary from day to day and can be affected by fatigue or anxiety.
SOURCE: Archives of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, 2004;130:415-420
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