Botox manufacturer Allergan have just announced the latest in a long line of approved uses for the product – treating ankle disability in stroke victims.The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have approved the drug to treat cases of ankle disability caused by the lower limb spasticity for Botox to Help Stroke Patients.

Spasticity is one of the most common after-effects of stroke and can have a far-reaching emotional and physical impact on  sufferers. Lack of mobility often leads to a complete lack of independence, which can in turn breed frustration and, in some cases, depression.

This approval represents a major leap forward, offering healthcare professionals an important new treatment option and providing real hope for patients suffering from lower limb spasticity.

To date, Botox to Help Stroke Patients will be the twelfth indication approved for Botox in the UK.

Professor Anthony Ward of the North Staffordshire Rehabilitation Centre had this to say about the new treatment:

“This is one of the most important advances the post stroke spasticity community has seen for years and will hopefully bring additional recognition to this complex and disabling condition.

“Studies show that Botox treatment can significantly improve the muscle tone in stroke survivors with lower limb spasticity. By allowing the ankle to function more normally, this can bring important mobility and physical benefits to patients, even those who have been suffering from this condition for many years.”

There are currently more than a million stroke survivors in the UK, with around 152,000 new cases every year. Many of these will face huge challenges in the aftermath of their stroke.

Some degree of disability is a common consequence of stroke, with 36% of survivors reporting moderate to very severe disabilities, with problems performing everyday tasks such as walking, washing, getting dressed and eating.

Treatment of lower limb spasticity after stroke currently includes physical therapy, drug treatments and, in some cases, surgery.

Joe Korner, director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association, said of the news:

“There can be significant advantages in using Botox to treat people whose movement and walking ability have been affected by stroke. Up to 30% of stroke survivors are living with muscle stiffness, known as post-stroke spasticity, which means they have abnormal tightness in some of their muscles.

“Whilst this treatment might not be suitable for every stroke patient, we encourage stroke survivors living with spasticity in their arms or legs to talk with their GP about management options that might be right for them.”

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