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J R Soc Med. 1992 September; 85(9): 524–529.
PMCID: PMC1293637

Botulinum toxin treatment of spasmodic torticollis.


We reviewed the efficacy and adverse effects of repeated botulinum toxin injections into hyperactive neck muscles of 107 successive patients with spasmodic torticollis. They received 510 injection treatments over a median period of 15 months (range 3-42 months). One patient failed to benefit at all, but 101 (95%) patients reported considerable (moderate or excellent) benefit from at least one treatment. On a global subjective response rating, 93% of 429 treatments resulted in some improvement and 76% in moderate or excellent improvement. Pain reduction followed 89% of 190 treatments with moderate or excellent reduction after 66%. Median duration of benefit was 9 weeks. All torticollis types responded equally well and injections into two (or more) involved neck muscles were more effective than injection into a single muscle. The most frequent adverse effect was dysphagia, occurring after 44% of all treatments, but this was severe after only 2%. Antibodies to botulinum toxin were detected in the serum of three out of the five patients in whom loss of treatment efficacy occurred. We conclude that botulinum toxin treatment is the most effective available therapy for spasmodic torticollis and practical advice is provided for anyone wishing to set up the technique.

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Selected References

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