Injections of botulinum toxin, widely referred to as Botox, can provide relief to patients with blepharospasm, an involuntary closure of the eyelid caused by spasms of the ocular muscles, according to new research presented at the International Conference of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Sydney during June.
During a four-week trial led by Professor Achinoam Socher, of Chaim Sheba Medical Center inTel-Hashomer, Israel, scores for all 27 participating patients on the Jankovic Rating Scale dropped from a baseline of 1.96 to 1.34 (P=0.0018).
The patients all scored significantly better on various standard assessment instruments, the research team noted in a poster presentation:
Additionally, 21 of the 27 patients appeared to have achieved improvement in their condition on the Clinician Global Impression of Change outcome measure.
“In this study, we found that botulinum toxin A was an effective treatment for blepharospasm,” the researchers reported. They did acknowledge the small numbers of patients in their study. “Larger studies are needed to assess the effect of botulinum toxin A on Parkinson’s disease patients in comparison to other patients suffering from blepharospasm.”
The researchers stratified patients by types of blepharospasm, identifying 10 with primary disease; six with blepharospasm secondary to Parkinson’s disease; six with Parkinson’s disease treated with deep brain stimulation, and six with various other types of blepharospasm.
There were 15 men in the study and 12 women. The average age was 65.1 years, and the patients had been diagnosed with blepharospasm for an average of 7.7 years prior to undergoing the treatment at the clinic.The patients were enrolled consecutively and their outcomes were videotaped then read by outside neurologists who were unaware of etiology.
They were evaluated prior to start of therapy and after four weeks of treatment. They received one treatment course during that time frame. Socher and colleagues from Tel Aviv University determined that patients who had blepharospasm secondary to Parkinson’s disease appeared to achieve greater relief of the condition than patients diagnosed with primary blepharospasm.