MYOBLOC® is a prescription drug used to treat cervical dystonia, a rare condition that causes sudden, painful head and neck movements. The drug works by numbing nerve endings in the neck, thereby preventing uncontrollable muscle spasms. MYOBLOC® is injected directly into the neck by a doctor or trained nurse once every three to four months. Most patients experience significant symptom relief within hours of receiving injections. The drug cannot cure cervical dystonia, however, and problems are likely to return if medication use is stopped.
Botulinum toxin type A, also known as BOTOX® is a popular remedy for correcting facial wrinkles and sagging skin. MYOBLOC® is a very similar agent classified as botulinum toxin type B. It works in much the same way as BOTOX®, paralyzing muscles by inhibiting nerve signals. Specifically, the drug stops a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine from triggering nerve impulses. MYOBLOC® prevents spontaneous muscle contractions and numbs painful sensations associated with cervical dystonia.
The most common side effects after receiving a MYOBLOC® injection include tenderness at the site of the injection, mild headache, and nausea. Some patients report heartburn, excessive thirst, and lightheadedness as well. Flu-like symptoms of fever, joint aches, runny nose, and chills develop in a small number of people. Rarely, an allergic reaction to the drug can cause a spreading skin rash, airway constriction, and tongue swelling.
It is well known that botulinum toxin can be very dangerous if it spreads to other parts of the body, including the lungs, heart, digestive tract, or brain. Doctors take extreme precaution when performing MYOBLOC® injections to ensure that toxins are not introduced into the bloodstream. It is possible, though highly unlikely, for toxins to spread from an injection site within a few hours or days of a carefully administered treatment. A patient who experiences difficulties breathing, swallowing, speaking, or seeing should seek immediate medical attention. Without prompt care, botulinum toxin can paralyze major muscle groups and possibly cause heart failure.
Most people who receive regular MYOBLOC® injections do not experience major side effects or negative health complications. Patients are given thorough instructions by their doctors about how to properly clean injection sites at home and how to check for signs of adverse reactions. Attending regular checkups between treatments is important so the doctor can make sure the drug is working properly. Additional prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs may need to be taken to combat other symptoms of cervical dystonia.