Botulinum toxin A was administered to 19 patients in a double-blind placebo controlled trial. Toxin was more effective than placebo for improving both head position and pain which was measured by an objective rating scale and videofilm assessments. Following the controlled trial, treatment with botulinum toxin was continued in an open fashion. A total of 60 patients with torticollis received toxin in a total of 117 treatment periods. The mean follow up period was 8.4 months. In 39 patients with pain there was benefit in 77% of treatment periods. Some improvement in neck posture occurred in 83% of the treatment periods with a mean duration of 12 weeks. Side effects were frequent with dysphagia being the most common (28% of treatment periods). Botulinum toxin is an effective treatment for toticollis but treatment should be initiated with doses at the lower end of the range used in this study (400-600 mouse units).
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