Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA), made by Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, is an injectable drug to treat spasticity in adults. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved its use in July 2015 to treat upper limb spasticity, but in June 2017, the FDA extended approval for Dysport to treat lower limb spasticity as well.
Spasticity, a disorder that makes muscles stiff and difficult to control, is common among people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — which is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons. People with ALS often experience spasticity, which worsens muscle function, making it difficult for them to perform daily activities. Dysport’s ability to influence nerve activity helps control spasticity in ALS patients.
How Dysport works
Dysport contains abobotulinumtoxinA, also known as botulinum toxin type A. This toxin blocks nerve activity in the muscles, temporarily relieving severe muscle spasms or stiffness that may occur in the upper limbs (wrists, elbows and fingers) and lower limbs (ankles and toes).
Dysport in clinical trials
The study aimed to assess Dysport’s long-term safety in 381 adults randomized to receive either one of two Dysport doses or a placebo at least six months after having a stroke or brain injury. The results showed that the drug improved ankle muscle tone, especially in patients who received the higher dose. This makes it the only botulinum toxin to successfully treat both upper and lower limb spasticity in adults.
It is also used to treat cervical dystonia or severe spasms in the neck muscles as well as treat lower limb spasticity in children under 2 years old. However, great caution should be taken when using Dysport since, as with other botulinum toxin products, it may cause serious side effects. Some of these, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, can even be life-threatening.
Patients already known to have serious reactions to botulinum toxin-related products should not take Dysport. Nor should people who have an infection at the injection site, or who are allergic to cow’s milk.
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