Research finds toxin can seep to other muscles

candice warn/for metro calgary


Botox injected for cosmetic purposes and to treat certain muscle disorders can be harmful to surrounding muscles, according to research by University of Calgary’s Dr. Walter Herzog.

The use of Botox to target specific muscles in the human body, were put under the microscope in a study conducted at the University of Calgary.

Botulinium Toxin-A, or more commonly known as Botox type A, a toxic protein, was tested to determine the result of the treatment of spastic muscles, commonly used in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy.

"It is a toxin that is quite powerful," said Dr. Walter Herzog of the University of Calgary, concentrationing on the neuro-biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.

In Dr. Herzog’s study, he has found that when injecting a specific muscle with botox, seepage would occur into neighbouring muscles.

For cerebral palsy patients this would mean the botox used to weaken the spastic muscles could also negatively affect the stronger muscles.

"You have to be very, very careful with injections that you give," said Dr. Herzog.

In this study, after the initial injection, the botox would begin to weaken muscles after two to three hours and after about one to two days, the full effect would take place.

This effect would last about four weeks and after 3-4 months it would be completely gone and it would be time the next injection.

Although fatal results or were not predicted, Dr. Herzog said awareness is needed.

"For me it is concerning. It is also concerning for people who use this clinically," said Dr. Herzog.

The type of Botox in this study is the same used for cosmetic applications and is used for certain eye diseases, where the muscles pull the eyes in the wrong direction.


  • Further study of the effect will be conducted to establish what dosages might decrease the amount of seepage into the neighbouring muscles and tissues.

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