Never mind wrinkles – a blob of Botox on your nose could banish hay fever, too
Gel is applied to the nose and will penetrate the skinIt's hoped the toxin will block
chemicals released by the body that cause annoying symptoms
17:52 GMT, 9 October 2012
It has been used to treat a host of ailments from migraines to incontinence – and that's on top of it being the world's most famous wrinkle-buster.
Now Australian scientists are to trial Botox to treat hay fever after early tests showed promising results.
Under the trial, a Botox gel will be applied to the nose to hopefully give hay fever sufferers relief from sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses for up to three months.
Relief: Applying a Botox gel to the nose could hopefully relieve hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose for up to three months
It's hoped that the botulinum toxin will affect the nerves in the nose and potentially block some of the chemicals released by the nerve endings which play a large role in causing hay fever symptoms.
To try and treat the allergy, the Botox molecule has been re-engineered to be able to penetrate through the skin but also through the lining of the nose.
Philip Bardin, a professor at the Monash Medical Centre, said Botox was already widely used in medicine to reduce spasms in muscles following strokes and in treating cerebral palsy.
'This is very new way to use an old medication,' he said
Interference: Botox may block some of the symptom-causing chemicals released by nerve endings in the nose
Botox, which makes muscles relax, is a purified form of a nerve poison.
It is produced by a bacteria that causes a disease which paralyses muscles.
Seventy people will be recruited for the new study following a preliminary trial that suggested the drug provided relief.
Last month it was announced that hay fever relief may also come in the form of a jab.
A new vaccine that promises lasting relief for sufferers is being developed, amid fears that the pollen season could go on six weeks longer in future due to global warming.
British scientists behind the project say it could help control symptoms of grass-pollen hay fever with several injections over the course of just a few months.
An existing vaccine requires a course of injections lasting several years and benefits only 1,000 people a year.
Both vaccines are based on similar technology, but immunologists have now discovered that injecting closer to the skin’s surface is far more effective than the current method.
Dr Stephen Till from King’s College London emphasised that it was early days, but said: ‘This new vaccine is potentially applicable to far larger numbers than the existing one.’