Botox may help ease ‘burning mouth’ syndrome

Botox, long used to smooth wrinkles, may come to the rescue for people with a painful condition called burning mouth syndrome.

A new study finds that Botox (botulinum toxin) “might be an effective, long-lasting, and safe treatment” for the disorder, says a team of Italian researchers.

Certain medical conditions, such as allergies, thyroid issues or drug side effects, can cause burning mouth syndrome. But in many cases, the condition is caused “by damage to the nerves that control pain and taste,” the institute said.

Now, a team led by Dr. Domenico Restivo, of Garibaldi Hospital in Catania, says Botox might help ease the condition.

The small study involved three women and one man, all in their 60s or 70s. All had endured burning mouth syndrome on their tongue and lower lip for at least six months. Each received a total dose of 16 Botox injections into the tongue and lower lip.

“In all patients, pain disappeared within 48 hours,” Restivo’s group reported. “The beneficial effects lasted up to 16 weeks after injection in all but one patient, in whom they lasted up to 20 weeks.”

In a separate experiment, two additional patients received “sham” treatments — saline injections — and saw no improvement in their symptoms, effectively ruling out a “placebo” effect, the researchers said.

No side effects from the treatment were noted, and the results warrant a larger, randomized trial, the team added.

The study appeared in April in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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