Botulinum toxin improves blepharospasm symptoms

S?o Paulo, Brazil-Botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Allergan) significantly improves all aspects of quality of life in patients with blepharospasm, according to Tammy Osaki, MS, a medical student at the Vision Institute of the Federal University of S?o Paulo, Brazil.

São Paulo, Brazil-Botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Allergan) significantly improves all aspects of quality of life in patients with blepharospasm, according to Tammy Osaki, MS, a medical student at the Vision Institute of the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Osaki based her conclusion on data that were obtained from two questionnaires-a quality-of-life measure and a disability scale-and reported her findings at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting in Anaheim, CA.

She prefaced the findings by saying that the bilateral, involuntary, and spasmodic closure of the eyelids commonly associated with blepharospasm can lead to functional blindness, causing severe social limitations. The disease is more common in women and in patients over 50 years of age; its prevalence is about 5 in 100,000 individuals, Osaki said.

Thirty-five patients aged 51 to 84 years with moderate to severe limitations participated in the study. All participants had been treated with botulinum toxin for at least 1 year. All were evaluated before and after (4 weeks) the botulinum toxin injection by an ophthalmologist.

"According to the SF-36, the physical and emotional aspects were the worst variables before treatment," Osaki reported. "After treatment, these aspects demonstrated the highest levels of improvement. In addition, the BDS showed that all patients presented minimal limitations 4 weeks after botulinum toxin injection."

The SF-36 questionnaire, associated with the BDS, was a valid alternative to measure the impact of botulinum toxin therapy on the quality of life, Osaki said. However, longer follow-up and further study to determine the cost-effectiveness of the treatment are needed, she concluded.