Botulimum toxin (BTX) is a type of nerve blocker. When injected, BTX blocks nerve signals to muscles so they relax.
BTX is the toxin that causes botulism, a rare but serious illness. It is safe when used in very small doses.
BTX is injected into the muscles around the vocal cords. This weakens the muscles and improves voice quality. It is not a cure for laryngeal dystonia, but can help ease the symptoms.
In most cases, you will have the BTX injections in your health care provider's office. There are two common ways to inject BTX into the larynx:
Through the neck:
Through the mouth:
You would have this procedure if you have been diagnosed with laryngeal dystonia. BTX injections are the most common treatment for this condition.
BTX injections are used to treat other problems in the voice box (larynx). They are also used to treat many other conditions in different parts of the body.
You may not be able to talk for about an hour after the injections.
BTX can cause some side effects. In most cases, these side effects only last a few days. Some of the side effects include:
In most cases, BTX injections should improve your voice quality for about 3 to 4 months. To maintain your voice, you may need injections every few months.
Your provider may ask you to keep a diary of your symptoms to see how well and how long the injection is working. This will help you and your provider find the right dose for you and to decide how often you need treatment.
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.