Neuromodulators are a class of medications which change the way that messaging is conducted between nerves and muscles. The most common medication in this class is botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a purified protein derived from the bacterium clostridium botulinum. The medication has been in use for over 20 years initially under the trade name of Botox® and now as well under the trade name Dysport. The medication blocks the release of the chemical acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the chemical which allows nerves to communicate with muscles and make them contract. When the chemical is blocked, the muscles are paralyzed.
The medications are temporary and last only a couple of months. While whole body muscle paralysis can be fatal, locally paralyzing select muscles can help with certain medical conditions and aesthetically decrease wrinkles on the face.
There are currently two medications approved for use in the United States by the US FDA: botulinum toxin type A (Botox®) and abobutulinumtoxinA (Dysport). The indications for the medications are different but the results are generally the same. By injecting the medication into an area around a muscle that you wish to paralyze, temporary paralysis and improvement of a certain medical condition can be achieved. The results though are temporary and may require repeat injections every 2-3 months.
Care must be taken with the medication in those who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant as birth defects have been reported in the babies of pregnant women who used the product. Care must also be taken in patients who have an allergy to milk or milk products when using Dysport.