Botox Brings Hopes To Cerebral Palsy Patients, Academy For Free Injections In Govt Hospitals
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26 July 2010
By Pritha Chatterjee
THE Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy (IACP) has decided to press the Health authorities to provide free Botox injections to cerebral palsy patients in government hospitals. Botox, better known for its cosmetic uses, is being used in select city hospitals for treating cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that makes certain muscles hyperactive.
Lilavati Hospital, Bombay Hospital and Wadia Children’s Nursing Home have, among others, started following this treatment protocol. Doctors are especially hopeful as no side–effects has been reported so far. IACP president and professor at Grant Medical College, JJ Hospital, Dr Ashok Johri, said, "I have administered Botox to nearly 2,000 cerebral palsy patients in Mumbai itself, with encouraging re sults. The process has gone through adequate clinical trials and we are preparing to negotiate for its free dispensation with the state government and at the Central–level.
" Incidentally, the Goa Government had taken up this initiative last year. A patient’s mother who had travelled from Rajasthan to Mumbai to get this treatment for her son said, "He was a year old when he was diagnosed. We heard of this treatment only now. He was given his first dose a few months ago, but already he can sit and get up on his own, which we could not achieve earlier despite regular physiotherapy.
" Neurologist Dr Ashok Saxena said, "We have found Botox to be particularly successful in freshlydetected patients, where there is no muscle fibrosis. I have been using it for almost two years now, and the results are fascinating." Delhi–based paediatrician Dr SK Sanyal, who has referred several cerebral palsy patients to Mumbai for Botox treatment, said, "Though this procedure is catching up, patients are extremely apprehensive at first.
Now, hospitals in Delhi are also starting to use Botox, but there is a need for awareness." The accepted treatment protocol mainly involves physiotherapy for a sustained period. In contrast, Botox has been giving considerably speedier results.
"Sometimes, we see patients showing results within two–three hours of administering the injection," said Dr Johri.
Botox has also shown to trigger better speech and bladder control. "There have been cases where the injection has been given in the lower half of the body, and there have been noted improvements in the upper half," said Dr Johri.
Since Botox causes a temporary paralysis, it has to be re–injected at an interval of about a year. "Even in cases where we have to resort to surgery, Botox helps until the child reaches an age where surgery can be easily performed," says Dr Saxena.