Distant effects of locally injected botulinum toxin: A double-blind study of single fiber EMG changes
We used single fiber electromyography (SFEMG) to study 42 patients who had enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial undertaken to assess the efficacy of botulinum toxin (BTX) injection of neck muscles to treat torticollis. SFEMG in a limb muscle was performed before treatment, 2, and 12 weeks after injection of placebo or BTX. Before treatment, the mean jitter was 26.8 microsec in patients who were to receive BTX, and 25.7 microsec in the placebo group. Two weeks after injection, mean jitter in the group receiving BTX was 43.6 microsec. In the placebo group, it was 26.5 microsec (P = less than .05). Twelve weeks after injection, mean jitter in the BTX group was 35.5; for the placebo group it was 24.5. Fiber density did not change in any patient during the study. There were no remote clinical effects of BTX. Injection of BTX into muscles affected with focal dystonia is a promising and safe treatment, but there are subclinical effects on uninjected muscles.