Long-term botulinum toxin treatment of focal hand dystonia

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Article abstract

We treated focal hand dystonia in 53 patients with botulinum toxin injections for up to 6 years. Eighty-one percent of the patients improved with at least one injection session. Sixty-five percent of the injections produced transient weakness. We followed 37 of the patients for at least 2 years from the start of treatment, 24 of whom discontinued treatment because of inadequate response, loss of response, inaccessibility of a treatment provider, or the expense of the toxin. Women, who had a greater extent and longer duration of benefit than men, were more likely to continue treatment. The mean interval between injection sessions was 6 months. In most patients, we injected the toxin into the same combination of muscles at each session. The dose of toxin generally fluctuated within a range of 20 units. Side effects were mild and transient and unrelated to the long-term use of botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin injection is safe and effective for the long-term management of focal hand dystonia.

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