What Are the Side Effects of Botox Treatment for Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is a neurological disorder involving noticeable involuntary movements of the hands, legs, head, trunk, or even the voice. It's a common movement disorder that has left a negative impact on the quality of life of those suffering from it. The good thing is that there are solutions to ease these tremors, such as receiving Botox injections. These injections are also an effective treatment of tremors, but some patients worry about their potential side effects.

So what are the side effects of receiving botulinum toxin injections for essential tremors? Patients might experience muscle weakness, pain at injection sites, headache, and pain or difficulty with swallowing. They can be mild or moderate and may last for a few days up to about a month. Some patients report other adverse effects because it will still depend on the location of the treated area and the dose you've received.

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Side Effects from Botox Treatment for Essential Tremor

Aside from reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, receiving Botox injections is one of the treatment options many patients rely on to ease their essential tremor symptoms. These injections have provided those suffering from the condition, with the relief they failed to receive from oral medications, especially those with severe tremor.

But just like any other treatment, patients can expect adverse effects from receiving this treatment for essential tremors. But according to a study, side effects from these injections aren't systemic unlike with oral medications. It's also rarely long-term, unlike with undergoing a surgical procedure. These side effects for essential tremors are the following:

  • muscle weakness
  • headache
  • pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site
  • pain or difficulty with swallowing

You might experience other side effects aside from these because it usually depends on the location of your injection site and the number of units or doses you'll receive. Here are others you might encounter:

  • difficulty breathing
  • droopy eyelids
  • droopy smile
  • neck pain
  • neck stiffness
  • vision problems

Side effects from botulinum toxin type A injections resolve on their own in a few days up to a month, though you may consult your doctor about how you may ease the discomfort. These adverse events can be mild or moderate, but they're usually nothing to worry about as you keep your doctor updated about your condition.

There are risks of experiencing serious side effects, such as allergic reactions and spread of toxin effect. However, these cases are uncommon and rarely severe.

Why You Experience Side Effects

Patients with essential tremors experience side effects after receiving Botox injections because the toxins are still considered foreign substances. These substances integrate into your body and do their work to ease your tremors.

How Botox Works

Closeup of doctor hands in gloves holding syringe, to prepare for a Botox injection

Botulinum toxin or onabotulinumtoxinA is a type of poison from a type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. You might be familiar with this substance because it's the same toxin in spoiled food that's deadly when ingested. It causes botulism which involves difficulty in breathing and muscle paralysis. 

But botulinum toxin in cosmetic treatments are not to be worried about, as they’re guaranteed safe when purified and administered into the muscles in small doses, earning approval from the FDA as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.

What Botox does involves temporarily relaxing the target muscle when injected by the substance. Because of this, it's been effective prophylaxis for neurological disorders and allows patients to do daily activities with much ease. As a cosmetic treatment, it relaxes the facial muscles to stop the contractions that cause lines and wrinkles.

How Botox Helps with Your Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is a disorder of the nervous system that involves rhythmical movements of some parts of the body, sometimes confused with Parkinson's disease. This functional disability is different from a mild tremor because it's more noticeable.

Botox injections ease the symptoms of essential tremor as it also relaxes the muscles and nerves of the targeted area, stopping the involuntary movements. The cause of this disorder remains unknown, but according to theories, the cerebellum, which controls the coordination of the muscles and other brain functions, fails to communicate accurately. 

With this, botulinum toxin is used to block the neurotransmitters that cause tremors. This in turn leaves patients feeling more calm, comfortable, and free from sudden, involuntary shaking.

Several clinical trials have already shown the effectiveness of Botox to control these tremors, like with essential hand tremor and head tremor. Here are other types of tremor that Botox may address:

  • dystonic tremor
  • wrist tremor
  • postural tremor
  • head tremor
  • facial tremor
  • upper limb tremor
  • kinetic tremor
  • voice tremor

Patients receiving Botox treatment for these types of tremors may also experience the side effects indicated above. Consult your neurologist for the right procedures for moving forward with Botox treatment for essential tremors.

What’s the Recommended Unit of Botox for Essential Tremor?

Administering the accurate unit of Botox for common symptoms of essential tremor is a factor for its effectiveness. Likewise, it's also an aspect for determining what side effects you can expect. 

The unit of Botox you'll receive depends on the location and severity of your abnormal movements. For essential hand tremors, most patients receive about 25 to 75 units of botulinum toxin on each hand. Other clinical trials demonstrate the accurate units for other types of tremors.

How to Manage Side Effects of Botox for Essential Tremor

Close up image of woman putting white round pill in mouth

Botox for essential tremors might come with side effects, but these cases can easily be managed, especially with the help of your doctor. Patients can consult their healthcare provider about the best way to ease the discomfort.

1) Take Prescribed Over-The-Counter Medicine

Headache is one of the most common side effects of Botox for essential tremors. While patients may be tempted to take aspirins or Ibuprofen for the pain, NSAIDs are actually one of the things you need to avoid 1 to 2 days after your treatment. 

NSAIDs and other blood-thinning medications are discouraged because they may worsen the pain, swelling, and bruising of the injected site. Take acetaminophen or Tylenol instead to ease the headache – this will also help ease the pain at the injected site.

2) Apply A Cold Compress

Patients having a hard time tolerating pain, bruising, and swelling at the injected site may experience relief by applying ice on the injected site. Adding a cold compress helps cover up the wood from the injection as it contracts the blood vessels and controls the blood circulation. Keeping the injected area elevated above the heart, if possible, will also help.

3) Chew Food in Small Amounts

Some patients experience difficulty in swallowing after their Botox treatment. Eating might be a struggle. But it'll be much easier if you take small mouthfuls and chew the food thoroughly. Ensure preparing a glass of water nearby to help you wash down your food. 

It's also best to eat softer food in the meantime. Patients having a hard time even with swallowing water and other liquids can sit up and drink with a straw.

4) Apply Eye Drops

Some patients experience droopy eyelids, which will be managed by keeping your eyes from drying out with eye drops. Dry eyes can lead to corneal laceration, so be sure to avoid touching them and apply eye drops regularly.

How to Know if Botox is the Best Treatment for Your Essential Tremor

Consult your doctor if receiving Botox injections for your essential tremors can be a solution for your involuntary movements. Knowing if it's a suitable treatment for you and if you're a good candidate can help reduce the risks of serious side effects. Patients at least 18 years old and diagnosed with essential tremors are qualified for receiving the treatment. 

Botox isn’t the best treatment for you if you're:

  • allergic to any of the ingredients of Botox
  • pregnant
  • diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and others
  • diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton syndrome

Botox is a guaranteed safe toxin, and it's effective when administered in accurate doses prescribed by your neurologists or injected by licensed practitioners. 

A Smoother, Younger You Today

Wrinkles and fine lines are a thing of the past with a single Botox treatment. Book your first session of Botox today.

What to Expect from Your Botox Treatment for Essential Tremor

Those considering Botox treatment may expect a minimally invasive procedure that takes less than an hour. Know where you'll receive Botox injections and how long the effects will last.

Where to Inject Botox

You'll receive Botox injections depending on where you experience the tremors. Injections will usually be into the lower or upper limb muscles, salivary glands, or facial muscles. A highly-trained practitioner must perform your procedure.

How Long It Lasts

Patients will usually notice results in about 3 to 7 days. These effects will last for about 10 to 14 weeks. Patients need to return and receive shots every 12 weeks to maintain these results and keep the tremors at bay.

Other Treatments for Your Essential Tremor

A closeup view on the violently shaking hands

Aside from botulinum toxin injections, there are also other options for treating essential tremors. These include surgery and drug therapies with beta-blockers and anti-seizure drugs. It also includes therapy and a lifestyle change.

1) Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is a common and most preferred surgical option for essential tremors, specifically for severe tremor. A board-certified neurosurgeon will insert a long thin electrode into the part of your brain that causes the trembling. 

This tool is attached to a wire that's implanted under your skin into your chest. This will then interrupt the signals causing the tremors with electrical impulses. Patients would need to undergo tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), before proceeding with the surgery. This step ensures the accurate location to implant the electrodes.

2) Tranquilizers

Tranquilizers like benzodiazepine or clonazepam (under the brand name Klonopin) can also help with essential tremors. This is suitable for patients whose tremors worsen when in stressful situations, as their anxiety and tension tend to make these tremors worse. 

Consult with your doctor about this first because it can cause mild sedation and fatigue. Making this a habit should also be observed, as tranquilizers can cause unintended effects on the side or even worsen your condition if taken in larger doses than recommended.

3) Beta-Blockers

Usually taken by patients with high blood pressure, beta-blockers are also a drug for calming tremors because it can block the triggers of neurotransmitters responsible for the movements. 

However, it’s good to note that these types of medicine such as Propranolol may not work well with patients with voice and head tremor. It's also not recommended for those with cardiovascular conditions, emphysema, and asthma. It also has other risks involving impotence, depression, and vascular issues.

4) Anti-Seizure Medication

The anti-seizure drug, primidone, or Mysoline may help patients who aren't getting positive results from beta-blockers. This drug can control how your neurotransmitters function. Side effects may first involve feelings of dizziness, nausea, and unsteadiness but will usually resolve once the body has gotten used to it. Some patients also feel sedated, so consult your doctor first to get the right dose.

5) Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy

Focused ultrasound thalamotomy is a non-invasive surgery where focused sound waves travel through your skin and skull to destroy the brain tissue responsible for the tremors. This procedure ensures targeting the accurate location with the help of MRI. They also ensure that the sound waves project only the exact level of heat.

6) Therapy

Receiving occupational or physical therapy will greatly benefit patients, so doctors might also prescribe them. Occupational therapy will help you go about your daily life and adapt to your condition. They may also suggest devices that will help reduce the effects of your tremors.

Your physical therapist will help you with the right exercise and stretching to build your muscle strength, elasticity, coordination, and endurance.

Try the Best Treatment Options for Essential Tremor at the Rejuvenation Center for Mind and Body

Essential tremor has left countless patients struggling even with everyday tasks. Receiving Botox injections may be a step to finally experiencing relief from these tremors. They might come with side effects, but they usually aren't long-term and are fairly manageable.

Consult a reliable doctor or clinic that can provide you with the best care and approach to your disorder like the Rejuvenation Center for Mind and Body. Our clinic offers a wide range of services such as preventive medicine, chronic disease treatment, wellness exams, and more. Partner with the experts and get the best treatment program for essential tremors and other health concerns. Schedule a consultation with us today.

A Smoother, Younger You Today

Wrinkles and fine lines are a thing of the past with a single Botox treatment. Book your first session of Botox today.

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