Botulinum toxin for the treatment of cervical dystonia

Ron Tintner, J. Jankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cervical dystonia (CD) manifests clinically through involuntary spasms of neck muscles, producing abnormal head and neck movements and postures, which is often associated with pain. CD is the most common form of focal dystonia presenting to movement disorders clinics. Chemodenervation with botulinum toxin (BTX) has become the first-line treatment for CD, producing satisfactory relief of symptoms in > 80% of cases. Unresolved issues that may impact on the overall results include the method of selection for injection sites (clinical vs. electromyography), dosing, dilution and the role and relative efficacy of the different BTX serotypes. A guiding therapeutic principle of BTX injections is to achieve optimal results with the lowest possible dosage and frequency of administration. This strategy is critical in order to keep the risk of immunoresistance at a minimum. Development of antibodies that block the effects of BTX, usually associated with frequent injections of high doses, is the main reason for secondary unresponsiveness to this treatment. Although the mechanism of denervation at the neuromuscular junction by BTX is relatively well understood, the role of changes in muscle spindles and myopathic pain mechanisms, as well as secondary changes at the level of the basal ganglia, thalamus and cortex and their role in response to BTX, all need further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1985-1994
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2001


  • Botox®
  • Botulinum toxin
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Dystonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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