5 Nov 2012

Botox trial as treatment for asthma

5:56 am on 5 November 2012

A research team in Melbourne hopes it can help fight asthma by using Botox. Promising results are reported from injections of Botox into the voice box.

Botox will also be trialled as a treatment for hay fever.

The trial is being led by the director of respiratory medicine at the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, Professor Phil Bardin.

"In 11 injections we've given, nine we think have been successful," he told the ABC.

"What it's done is it's improved people's asthma symptoms - (it) hasn't taken the asthma away obviously, but seems to have improved it in many people.

Professor Bardin says in asthmatics it is believed the voice box is asthmatic as well as the lung itself and that some of the limited air flow is caused by the voice box blocking the flow of air to the lung.

"So all the treatment does is it causes paralysis, or partial paralysis," he said.

"Some of the muscles in the voice box it relaxes and lets air through, in and out."

Despite the promising signs, Professor Bardin does not have enough proof that Botox can combat asthma but is planning a more comprehensive trial to find out.

The ABC reports it is not the first time the botulinum toxin has been used in medicine. It is used in neurology and as a treatment for migraines.

A comprehensive trial of the asthma treatment will begin next year.

Professor Bardin hopes it can also be used to target the nerves responsible for hay fever.

"It will get under the surface, below the surface and will be able to have an effect there," he said.

"It may be much more effective than say treatments with antihistamines that try to mop up the problem after it's occurred."

Professor Bardin is about to begin a trial of a gel to treat hay fever.