Australian-First Trial Using Botox as a Medical Therapy for Stroke Patients
Can Botox really be used for treating patients who have lost movement from a debilitating stroke?
A research project underway at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is currently answering this question, using botulinum toxin (Botox) to help stroke patients suffering from a debilitating condition known as spasticity.
Led by Dr Anupam Datta Gupta and Cure for Stroke Australia, a proud affiliate of The Hospital Research Foundation, this Australian-first clinical trial is using Botox injections for stroke patients aiming to improve their movement.
Spasticity is a condition brought on by a stroke, where certain muscles are continuously contracted, causing stiffness or tightness of the muscles. This can interfere with normal movement, leaving patients unable to complete basic tasks.
“Our research is suggesting that Botox can make a significant difference to stroke patients living with this heartbreaking condition. Our trial will help ensure this treatment can become more accessible to all Australians in need,” Dr Gupta said.
Someone who knows all too well about this devastating condition is Elizabeth (Mandy) Bosson. Her life turned upside down after suffering a major stroke in September 2012 at just 51-years-old. She explains what began as a horrendous headache during a work meeting left Mandy paralysed down on side within half an hour.
“I suffered a haemorrhage and ended up in intensive care, followed by lengthy rehab, undergoing significant physio, speech pathology and occupational therapy. The most frustrating thing was being unable to drive. I was house bound,” Mandy explained.
Mandy’s life changed instantly, the stroke leaving her with severe physical side effects, from having a successful career and the freedom to live, she was left unable to talk and was forced to give up her job at The City of Adelaide.
Refusing to accept her prognosis, Mandy pushed herself, undergoing intensive rehab and learning how to speak again. Mandy found hope when Dr Gupta became her specialist and began injecting Botox in her leg to assist with her movement.
“I feel the effects begin to kick in after about a week, and with the help of physiotherapy, it makes such a difference to my mobility. Without the Botox injections I am at a higher risk of falling and my movement is very limited. I can now drive again and I have my independence back,” Mandy said.
“I couldn’t have hoped to achieve anything like that without the Botox injections.”
Dr Gupta hopes to recruit 80 stroke patients who are living with spasticity over the next three years to participate in his trial. They will be receiving Botox injections approximately every six months along with physiotherapy, helping with their movement, which Dr Gupta explains will improve their quality of life.
“If I can help improve the function and balance for those who’ve suffered a stroke and have been told they can no longer drive or walk unassisted with Botox injections then it will instantly lift their spirits knowing their condition can be improved,” Dr Gupta said.
If yourself or someone you know has suffered a stroke and is living with spasticity then you could be eligible for Dr Gupta’s trial. To find out more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (08) 7002 0855.