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Botulinum Toxin May Hold Untapped Potential for Common Skin Diseases

Posted: March 1, 2013

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Eczema is another chronic inflammatory skin condition marked by dry, itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis – the most common form of eczema – affects millions of people, including an estimated six to 10 percent of children.

  • Gilbert explained that the urge to itch is very prevalent in inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, contact dermatitis, rosacea and lichen simplex chronicus, and researchers are just beginning to understand disease development and progression of these conditions. Early research suggests that there could be a role for botulinum toxin in combating itch by better understanding the interaction of the vascular system in inflammatory skin conditions.

AAD Expert Advice

“While there are available therapies to treat eczema and psoriasis, in some cases there may be small areas where these therapies are not effective,” said Gilbert. “In these instances, botulinum toxin injections could hypothetically provide another treatment option and potentially allow patients to stop using topical steroids for a while.”

Other Dermatologic Uses

Botulinum toxin type A may be an option for treating other dermatologic conditions:

Burns

  • Injections of botulinum toxin could promote wound healing following a burn injury.

Rheumatic conditions

  • In rheumatology, botulinum toxin could help treat painful blood vessel conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease and scleroderma.
  • In instances where scleroderma affected the fingertips, injections of botulinum toxin has shown to almost immediately reduce pain.

On the Horizon