A guide for caregivers
Caring for someone with spasticity (stiffness in the elbow, wrist, fingers, thumb, ankle, and toes) is a vital role. It’s possible the person you care for has survived a serious injury or has a chronic condition. Helping them to manage spasticity is very important and knowing what might be expected of you can help.
How you can help:
- Assisting with daily activities such as getting dressed, driving, and bathing
- Listening to the person you care for. Spasticity can be emotionally challenging, and lending an ear can go a long way to helping them know they’re being heard and supported
- Communicating and expressing your loved one’s questions and concerns to their healthcare team. Having an advocate who can help them ask questions and keep track of issues they experience in their daily life can be very helpful
Important things to keep in mind:
- Be an informed advocate. Being a caregiver means staying informed and educated about spasticity. The more you know about spasticity, the better you can help.
- Your role is important. Your loved one depends on you to help work toward his or her treatment goals. Remind your loved one to stay positive and focused on the task at hand. It’s also helpful for you to do the same.
- Watch for changes in spasticity symptoms. Be aware of any worsening or improvement in your loved one's condition and be sure to communicate those changes to their doctor. Keeping a journal can help you keep track.
- Take care of yourself. Being a caregiver is a demanding job. It requires you to be available at all times for your loved one, both physically and emotionally. When you make sure your own needs are being taken care of, you are better able to take care of others.
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BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles to treat increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, finger, thumb, ankle, and toe muscles in people 18 years and older with upper and lower limb spasticity.
It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to treat increased stiffness in upper limb muscles other than those in the elbow, wrist, fingers, and thumb, or in lower limb muscles other than those in the ankle and toes. BOTOX® has not been shown to help people perform task-specific functions with upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.
important safety information
BOTOX® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hours to weeks) after injection of BOTOX®:
- Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, can be severe and result in loss of life. You are at highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last several months.
- Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
BOTOX® may cause loss of strength or general muscle weakness, vision problems, or dizziness within hours to weeks of taking BOTOX®. If this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.
Do not take BOTOX® if you: are allergic to any of its ingredients (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.
The dose of BOTOX® is not the same as, or comparable to, another botulinum toxin product.
Serious and/or immediate allergic reactions have been reported, including itching, rash, red itchy welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Get medical help right away if you experience symptoms; further injection of BOTOX® should be discontinued.
Tell your doctor about all your muscle or nerve conditions such as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, as you may be at increased risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing from typical doses of BOTOX®.
Tell your doctor if you have any breathing-related problems. Your doctor may monitor you for breathing problems during treatment with BOTOX® for spasticity. The risk of developing lung disease in patients with reduced lung function is increased in patients receiving BOTOX®.
Bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections (common colds) have been reported. Bronchitis was reported more frequently in people receiving BOTOX® for upper limb spasticity. Upper respiratory infections were also reported more frequently in people with prior breathing related problems with spasticity.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk).
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Using BOTOX® with certain medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you received BOTOX® in the past.
Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
Other side effects of BOTOX® include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, and eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of eyelids, and dry eyes.
For more information refer to the Medication Guide or talk with your doctor.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.