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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282X


ANDRADE, Luiz Augusto F.  and  BRUCKI, Sonia Maria D.. Botulinum toxin A for trismus in cephalic tetanus. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 1994, vol.52, n.3, pp.410-413. ISSN 0004-282X.

Cephalic tetanus is a localized form of tetanus. As in generalized forms , trismus is a prominent feature of the disease, leading to considerable difficulty in feeding, swallowing of the saliva and mouth hygiene. These difficulties often precede respiratory problems and aspiration bronchopneumonia is a frequent life-threatening complication. Muscle relaxants other than curare drugs may show a limited benefit for relieving trismus. Tetanospasmin, the tetanic neurotoxin, and botulinum toxin share many similarities, having a closely related chemical structure, an origin from related microorganisms (Clostridium tetani and Clostridium botulinum, respectively), and presumably, the same mechanisms of action in the neuron. The difference between the two lies in their peculiar neurospecificity, acting in different neurons. Injection of minute doses of botulinum toxin in the muscles involved in focal dystonias or other localized spastic disorders have proved to be very effective in these conditions. We describe the use of botulinum toxin A in the successful treatment of trismus in a patient suffering from cephalic tetanus. We believe that this form of treatment may be of value in lowering the risk of pulmonary complications in tetanic patients.

Keywords : tetanus; cephalic tetanus; trismus; botulinum toxin A.

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