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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Botox May Ease Multiple Sclerosis Tremors

Study Shows Botox Injections May Have a Role in Treating MS-Related Hand and Arm Tremors

Botox for MS Tremors? continued...

When people think of MS, they don't think about shaking or tremors, says Nicholas LaRocca, PhD. He is the vice president of health care delivery and policy research at the National MS Society in New York City. "They usually think about difficulty walking, but tremors affect the majority of people with MS."

They may not always be visible, as these "intention" tremors occur when a person reaches for something. Tremors tend to be more common as the disease progresses.

There is no cure for MS tremors, but they may be treated with:

  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Use of adaptive devices such as special utensils
  • Braces and weights
  • Medications
  • Surgery

"But we really do not have an effective treatment, so Botox could be a significant advance," he says. "Time will tell, but this is a promising study that looked at tremor from many different angles and was able to show that there was benefit."

Ready for Prime Time?

The next step is a larger study, LaRocca says. It is important to make sure that the minor muscle weakness seen in this study does not become a major problem down the road.

If you or someone you love has an MS-related tremor, "talk with a specialist who has experience in treating people with MS about the current options for tremors," he says.

Gayatri Devi, MD, says she is ready, willing, and able to try this treatment in patients with an MS tremor today. She is a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in N.Y.

"I think it is a grand idea," she says. Botox is already used for other types of tremors, so this is not a big stretch. She often uses Botox to treat overactive bladders in people with MS.

Devi is not overly concerned about the muscle weakness side effect seen in the new study. "The tremor is so disabling and crippling that it's a little bit of trade-off."

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