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Are Botox Treatments Safe for Children With Cerebral Palsy?

It isn’t wrinkles that you are worried about, and it’s not your child’s appearance that you are attempting to improve. Instead, you worry about your child’s comfort as she continues living with the effects of cerebral palsy. Accordingly, when your child’s doctor suggests Botox to relieve her leg spasms, you consider your options.

Botox Is Not FDA Approved to Treat Children With Cerebral Palsy

Instead, treating cerebral palsy with Botox is an off-label use of the drug. It may prevent muscle spasms by weakening the muscle. However, it may also cause serious side effects including difficulty breathing or swallowing.

In 2008 and 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that serious complications had been suffered by children with cerebral palsy who were treated with Botox. The agency recommended that medical professionals educate patients and caregivers about potential complications.

Yet not all complications have been avoided. Recently, a family from Vermont filed a federal lawsuit against the maker of Botox alleging that Allergan failed to warn them about the dangers of Botox. They claim their 21-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy died as a result of Botox complications. The lawsuit also alleges that Allergan was negligent and that it breached the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act. The family’s 21-year-old daughter reportedly received Botox treatments for her cerebral palsy from 2007 until 2014. She died in September 2014.

As a parent, it can be difficult to know what the right thing is for your child. Accordingly, we encourage you to talk to your child’s doctors about all of the possible risks before starting Botox treatments for your child.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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