Ten patients with spasmodic torticollis were treated by injection of a total dose of 30 ng of botulinum toxin type A into the affected sternomastoid and posterior cervical muscles. Nine patients reported improvement in head position and control, which was confirmed in seven cases by clinical assessment and "blind" videotape ratings before and 6 weeks after injection. Five patients who had pain reported relief. Seven patients had mild transient dysphagia after injection; two who were given a more concentrated solution of the toxin developed more severe dysphagia, but this also recovered. Other minor transient side effects included weakness of the voice and local pain. The beneficial effects of botulinum toxin injections lasted some 2 to 3 months. A slight reduction in the total dose of toxin injected avoided the main side effects, and this method of treatment appears to offer successful control of head position and pain in the majority of patients with torticollis.
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