Botox curbs incontinence from spinal cord injury

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Injections of Botox, or botulinum toxin-type A, appear useful in the treatment of drug-resistant urinary Incontinence due to traumatic spinal cord injury, UK researchers report.

In fact, lead investigator Dr. Prasad S. Patki told Reuters Health, “Botulinum toxin A has had a profound impact on the quality of life of spinal cord injury patients.”

“Certainly the weight of evidence favors its regular use,” Patki added.

Until recently, there were few minimally invasive means of treating drug-resistant urinary incontinence in such patients, Patki of the London Spinal Cord Injuries Center, Stanmore, and colleagues note in BJU International, a medical journal.

To evaluate whether Botox shots might help avoid the need for surgery, the team studied 37 patients. All received Botox injections into the detrusor muscle, which controls bladder function.

Overall, incontinence was abolished in 82 percent of patients and detrusor overactivity was stopped in 76 percent. In all, 86 percent of patients were able to stop or reduce drug therapy and a similar proportion showed an increase in quality-of-life scores.

The mean duration of symptomatic improvement was 9 months, and 12 patients had a mean of 14 months of improvement. “Its short duration of action and ever-increasing number of patients on repeat injections may remain a cause of concern,” Patki said.

The researchers conclude, based on their experience, that Botox injection is an effective treatment “that bridges the gap between oral and invasive surgical treatment.”

SOURCE: BJU International July 2006.

By David Douglas

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