RENO, NV - What do a certain medical assistant, a Reno mom, and a 91 year old man have in common?
They all use Botox.
“Everybody puts in their mind Botox is something people do to get rid of wrinkles and stuff. I don't want to get rid of them, I'm not that vain,” says Don Weaver the senior of the group.
Weaver says he thought Botox was just for wrinkles.
But after suffering years from an over active bladder--and trying every medication available for it--doctors suggested he try Botox.
“Botox is a poison really. So we are poisoning little areas of the bladder,” says Dr. Christin Lajeunesse, a Reno Urologist.
The body's muscles are controlled by nerve cells that send impulses to synaptic knobs attached to muscle cells.
The impulses cause muscles to contract and relax.
When the botulism toxin is injected it reaches the nerve cells and blocks the transmissions of those impulses.
When Botox is injected into the wall of his bladder, the muscles stop over reacting.
“90 to 95 percent of these patients are improved with the Botox. They aren't necessarily 100% dry, but they are improved,” says Dr. Lajeunesse.
Megan Most has permanent nerve damage because of West Nile Virus caused by a mosquito bite.
She has muscle constriction in her left arm, wrist, neck and ankle.
“And when I get it, it takes about 2 weeks to get the full effect. But my muscle slowly starts to loosen up and the pain goes away,” says Most.
“When a person loses connection between the cerebellum and the spinal cord, the muscles have a propensity to be more right or spastic,” says Dr. Steven Berman with Nevada Pain & Spine Specialist.
Dr. Berman also uses it on Cerebral Palsy Patients.
Children are placed under general anesthesia, and then tiny injections are placed in the legs.
For a time these patients will be able to work with a physical therapist and move muscles and ligaments like never before.
But like most Botox injections the effects are only temporary.
“Always had sweating problems, my whole life,” says Melissa Milyko.
Milyko suffers from what doctors call Hyperhidrosis.
It means her armpits sweat up to four times more than most of us--even when she's not over-exerting herself.
“Basically what Botox does is stops the information going from the nerves to the glands that create the sweating. So it stops the information. You don't sweat,” says Dr. Billie Casse with Nevada Center for Dermatology.
Long term studies on Botox and the treatment of Hyperhidrosis show the injections reduced sweat production by 75-percent in most patients.
And most of the patients needed four or fewer shots of Botox within two years to keep the sweating under control
Insurance can pick up the cost if Botox is used for treating overactive bladder, C.P, muscle spasicity or migraines.
Insurance will not cover the injections for Hyperhidrosis since, like wrinkles, companies believe it’s truly cosmetic.