Botox is a novel therapeutic muscle relaxing agent used mainly in cosmetic treatments. The drug is primarily a neurotoxin complex derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and is known as Botulinum toxin type A.
Botulinum toxin is a protein complex that prevents nerve stimulation of muscles and muscle paralysis. This toxin prevents the nerves from releasing acetylcholine, a chemical necessary for the nerves to communicate with the muscle cells. Hence, this toxin is useful in treating condition where excessive nerve stimulation to muscles causes abnormal muscle functioning or spasms. Medical conditions where Botox is used include blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, spasmodic torticollis, hyperdhidrosis and foot deformity in children with cerebral palsy.
According to manufacturers of Botox, pregnant women or nursing mothers should not be administered with the toxin. However, there are no conclusive evidences or research data indicating the possible side effects of Botox in pregnant women.
In certain studies conducted on pregnant rats and rabbits, certain developmental disorders such as low birth weight and irregular fetal bone development were associated with Botox. In certain cases, researchers also observed miscarriages and fetal malformation. However, any human subjects have never reported any such serious side effects. In any case, it is important to consult a physician when one becomes pregnant while taking Botox.
Botulinum toxin injections should not be given to patients, who are taking medications such as tetracyclin, lincomycin and other aminoglycoside antibiotics like gentamicin, neomycin and streptomycin as these drugs have the ability to interact with the toxin and increase the risk of side effects. Botox should be administered carefully to patients suffering with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.