We’ve shared information in the past about Botox® treatments for Raynaud’s. To date, all tests we’ve seen were focused on patients’ fingers. Recently we found a report of Botox applied to the toes of Raynaud’s sufferers. While the sample size was extremely limited (three women), results are promising.
The trial was performed in London, and the doctors involved claim Botox works on Raynaud’s patients by “by dilating blood vessels,” which is not the way we understand the use of the drug. All material we’ve read on how Botox potentially works to alleviate Raynaud’s symptoms involves blocking nerve activity to stop vasospasms, which makes sense. Blocking nerve activity is also how Botox works to smooth out wrinkles, its primary application for cosmetic purposes.
Even with the limited sample of three patients, it’s exciting to see continued exploration of how Botox may be used in the future to help prevent or reduce Raynaud’s symptoms. The three women in the study have Raynaud’s secondary to the primary ailment of scleroderma. Patients with secondary Raynaud’s tend to have more severe attacks than those with the primary form, and the ones in this study found other drugs (we assume calcium channel blockers) proved ineffective in alleviating their pain and swelling.
Results showed an increase in the temperature in their feet for up to five months with just the two injections in each toe (it’s not clear if the two units were given together or over time). They also experienced improvements in levels of pain, color changes and cold tolerance. One of the three participants also reported significantly reduced swelling in her feet.
Thermal scans were used to graphically display the before and after effects of the drug. The blue areas indicate cold regions where circulation is bad; red areas indicate warm areas where circulation is good.