Gastroparesis Treated with Botulinum Toxin

A report from Johns Hopkins shows that injections of botulinum toxin into the pyloric sphinctor muscle at the end of the stomach can cure gastroparesis, a condition that used to be thought of as being caused by paralysis of the stomach muscles.

Common symptoms include fullness after eating, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Gastrpoparesis can be caused by diabetes, stomach surgery, autoimmune diseases or a previous viral illness, but one third of cases have no known cause.

The accepted treatments of frequent small meals, drugs such as metoclopramide that make muscles contract, and erythromycin, usually are ineffective. Doctors at Johns Hopkins injected botulinum toxin into the pyloric sphincter muscle and alleviated the symptoms of people with gastroparesis. Perhaps what doctors though was paralysis of the stomach muscles was really an overactive pyloric muscle that closes off the stomach to prevent food from passing to the intestines.

Botulinum toxin for the treatment of gastroparesis: A preliminary report. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2002, Vol 97, Iss 6, pp 1548-1552. BE Lacy, EN Zayat, MD Crowell, MM Schuster. Lacy BE, Johns Hopkins Bayview Med Ctr, Div Digest Dis, 4940 Eastern Ave, Bldg A5E, Baltimore,MD 21224 USA

Checked 8/9/08

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