Can Botox really be used for treating patients who have lost movement from stroke?
A research project underway at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) is currently answering this question, using botulinum toxin (Botox) to help stroke patients suffering from a debilitating condition known as spasticity.
Spasticity is a condition brought on by a stroke, where certain muscles are continuously contracted, causing stiffness or tightness of the muscles. This can interfere with normal movement, leaving patients unable to complete basic tasks.
Someone who knows all too well about this devastating condition is Elizabeth (Mandy) Bosson. Her life turned upside down after suffering a major stroke in September 2012 at just 51 years old
The stroke left Mandy with severe physical side effects, causing her life to change instantly. She went from having a successful career and the freedom to live, to being unable to talk and forced to give up her job at The City of Adelaide.
Refusing to accept her prognosis, Mandy pushed herself, undergoing intensive rehab and learning how to speak again. She found hope when Dr Anupam Gupta at TQEH became her specialist and as part of his research trial began injecting Botox in her leg to assist with her movement.
“I feel the effects begin to kick in after about a week, and with the help of physiotherapy, it makes such a difference to my mobility. Without the Botox injections I am at a higher risk of falling and my movement is very limited. I can now drive again and I have my independence back,” Mandy said.
“I couldn’t have hoped to achieve anything like that without the Botox injections.”
Dr Gupta hopes to recruit 80 stroke patients who are living with spasticity over the next three years to participate in his trial, funded by The Hospital Research Foundation thanks to your support of the Hospital Research Home Lottery.
“If Botox injections can help improve the function and balance for those who’ve suffered a stroke and have been told they can no longer drive or walk unassisted, then it will lift their spirits knowing their condition can be improved,” Dr Gupta said.