Botox for Chronic Pain? Novel Botulinum Toxin Compound Relieves Chronic Pain in Mice

Botox for Chronic Pain? Novel Botulinum Toxin Compound Relieves Chronic Pain in Mice

By Staff.

Botox has been approved for use to treat migraines for several years – now researchers are looking into a compound that broaden its use to other types of chronic pain.

Researchers in London and Toronto report that a botulinum molecule reassembled with an opioid called dermophin to make Derm-Bot which is giving long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects.

For the study, published in Science Translational Medicine, Researchers from University College, London, the University of Sheffield and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto are finding that when they target neurons in the spinal cords of mice, pain signals can be silenced. Key neurons in the spinal cord are targets for pain management as they directly ‘sense’ pain and send this information to the brain.

“Injected into the spine, Derm-BOT relieves chronic pain – such as that caused by nerve damage – and avoids the adverse events of tolerance and addiction often associated with repeated opioid drug use,” explained co-corresponding author, Professor Steve Hunt of UCL.

“It doesn’t affect muscles like the botulinum toxin used to reduce wrinkles but it does block nerve pain for up to four months without affecting normal pain responses. It really could revolutionize how chronic pain is treated if we can translate it into clinic, removing the need for daily opioid intake.”

Opioids like morphine and fentanyl are considered to be the gold standard for pain relief but there is debated evidence that their long-term use is effective in treating chronic pain.

Previous studies in rats and companion dogs show that precise injections of tiny amounts of toxic substances, such as ‘substance P-saporin’, into the spine kill neurons responsible for crippling, chronic pain. This approach relies on an analogue of ricin which is difficult to manufacture to clinical standards and clinicians are resistant to irreversibly kill nerve cells.

In contrast, researchers believe that Derm-BOT is safe to manufacture, is non-toxic and does not kill neurons.

“We needed to find the best pain targeting molecular parts to direct the botulinum silencing ‘warhead’ to the pain-controlling system in the spine. For this, we developed a molecular Lego system which allows us to link the botulinum ‘warhead’ to a navigation molecule, in this case, the strong opioid called dermorphin, allowing the creation of widely desired long-lasting pain killers without the side effects of opioids,” said co-corresponding author Professor Bazbek Davletov from the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield.

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Holy [edit]. First off, it is well known mice react entirely different than humans with medication. It just gives an idea of a possibility, if that. All the studies with mice prove not a damn thing, unless you are a mouse that is.

Maureen M.

This is insightful BUT it is a tough call for those of us who have conditions that cause great sensitivities to some meds lets alone toxins placed into our bodies.
When are they going to realize that CP folks who are doing just fine on our long term meds are not addicts nor can we become addicts, and tha they need to start listening and learning from us!

Alan Edwards

This is a rehashed, British- US idea. And if botox is bound with the horrific opioid it is not politically correct or opioid free. I was given botox once a month for three months at 2000 dollars an injection out of pocket in 2002 for pain and spasticity. It is and was a total failure and ruined me financially. And botox has also been shown to be ineffective against vascular migraine which coupled with trazodone can turn into a stroke which further crippled me last year. I already have cerebral palsy.
Botox has been used and failed for years vainly for those with multiple co-morbidities and intractable pain disease. It is routinely coupled with nortriptyline which caused me to become immediately sick. The British government and United States are obsessed not with curing disease, but deleting all controlled substances used by very ill patients. This is another example of Political action within Medical science which will dead-end or be forced upon the patient as botox and the faux painkiller/ antidepressant nortriptyline were on myself. Nice report but it is nothing new. Botox and ricin are quite a pair. Ricin is an assasin’s choice. Botox is highly toxic but a huge money maker. They are looking for derm-bot to be another source of adhesive arachnoiditis, maybe. It is concerning that ‘our best’ and the alphabet agencies don’t seem to care about suffering which is at an historical point. Those who aren’t in pain are in total control now and the suffering and suicides are not being reported. I am in severe pain at this moment and am not hopeful like other commentors on NPR. Spinal cord stimulators are now being rushed to pain clinics and pushed by the FDA. Derm-bot or ricin may be the next fad.


Speaking of cost, has anyone encountered this problem. I have been buying my medication at Walmart, I don’t have prescription drug insurance so I have to pay for it on my own. I do have a discount card on file with Walmart and it has saved me quite a bit of money, that was until I went to pick up my pain medication (opiates) this month.
They told me Walmart will no longer allow me to use the discount card for opiates? So now the cost of the prescription opiates has almost doubled. This feels like discrimination, as far as I know they aren’t doing this for any other medication. If I didn’t have to take them I sure as hell wouldn’t. I’m so tired of being treated like a drug addict, a second class citizen or a criminal. I have been dealing with this crap for 15 years. I have RSD/CRPS
I wonder if everyone that has been effected by this bogus war on opiates could file a class action lawsuit for discrimination against disabled persons. I believe our rights are being stomped on, I do believe we have some rights under the disability act, or I could be wrong, I’m not an attorney nor am I a expert on the law for disabled people. I’m just another chronic pain patient trying to get by.


A shot in the spine? Sounds like asking for trouble. I had an epidural that went wrong…who’s to say these won’t? It’s your spine, after all. Patients have different reactions to meds, that’s a fact. No desire to be a guinea pig, even in my most pain.

Grace Morgan

Botox is a toxin. What amazes me with this chronic pain med assault on patients who have a right to legitimate access to narcotic pains meds is that these folks called “doctor” are willing to suggest meds that destroy the liver ,kidneys; cause NASH with long term use or are verified toxins to the chronic pain community rather than admit that there are chronic pain patients who are functioning well and stable with minimal side effects or long term health issues secondary to needed daily narcotic medication use for pain.

Katie Olmstead

I knew two people who had Botox injections for migraines. For one person, it worked well. For the other, nothing. I have CRPS. I have done countless procedures and taken many drugs, all kinds, over these 20 years. I stick with my opioids, acupuncture and exercise, but I did get desperate enough to have a botox injection in my spine. Spine? Near my spine? I don’t remember. I remember it cost a fortune, out of pocket. I remember that there were great risks, like permanent loss of all feeling, and thus, use of my arm. Scary. I made the decision and went forward. It did NOTHING. Absolutely nothing besides drain my checking account.

The problem for disabled on a low income is the fact the treatments I’ve heard about is cost prohibitive. Simply out of our financial ability to pay out of pocket for any of these. I’m really ticked off ins.companies are draging their feet on covering anything besides opioids for chronic pain patients. I’m not surprised big pharma,cdc,fda did target the Ill and disabled for death basically. Don’t be fooled this has been ins.companies and big governments plan all along. All they had to do was spread false data (They pulled out of their [edit] or just made them up to convince others in their secret meeting to screw up the lives of ALL DISABLED and SICK CPPs. THEY started this witch hunt by giving their fake data to the media and knew they’d latch on like a dog with a bone. I sometimes wonder if President trump will pay for announcing their statements as true facts without having a reliable source check it out first. I don’t think the ones on the panel will ever admit what they’ve done is wrong. None of the Men that passed these new rules has ever spoke out personally. No they don’t want to be singled out as bad men. So then who comes out with egg on their face well that would be President Trump certainly not Al Koledny (not sure if I spelled it right).
No I don’t really know just a wild guess. Mass genocide of the sick and disabled people is REPREHENSIBLE AND MAKES ME THINK OF NAZIS. Yes patients will be driven to suicide but,those that do will be swept under the rug until the media starts covering our SUICIDES. Media coverage is essential to ever change things. Unfortunately to many citizens blindly believe everything in the media without fact checking. Media has been corrupted or taken over by our government.
Oh how the mighty USA has fallen. My heart weeps for the families of those whom have resorted to suicide. God bless you to all fellow pain warriors. My heart and love goes out for all those who are suffering and contemplating suicide because I’ve come to that point myself. Again God Bless

Kelli Davidson

I hope that all the options that are be tested result in more options for us ! I am not addicted to opioids, I am addicted to pain relief! So any new safe procedure is a win in my book!


NO. I shouldn’t have to accept having Botullism Toxin injected INTO MY SPINAL CORD.

Are we going to get pushed into treatments that are new and find out that there are harmful effects later on?!?!?

Or be the person who experiences serious harmful effects and become a case study?

This is infuriating! The injection drug makers are taking advantage of this situation for profit.

marilyn wright

All well & good for this new product but it always seems the newer meds have a price so high that insurance wont cover & poor people cant afford.


That is great for the mice. I have been on morphine since 2010 and it works wonderfully for me. I tried everything doctors had to offer to no avail. Now, I can work and do my normal every day duties. Just live my life!
I would hate to think that a chronic pain patient would have to get a shot in spine every 4 months. Everything does not work for every body. Leave us alone!!!! I am 62 years old and trying to live my life as intended.