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Botox may ease painful writer's cramp, study says

The key ingredient in Allergan Inc.'s wrinkle-fighting Botox injection may also help ease the painful contractions of the hand and arm known as writer's cramp, according to a study.

Of 20 people with writer's cramp who were given injections of botulinum toxin, 14 reported their condition „significantly improved” over a period of 12 weeks, the study's researchers said. Only six out of 19 sufferers of writer's cramp who received placebo injections in the trial felt that their condition improved, according to the study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Writer's cramp is caused by painful involuntary muscle spasms in the fingers, hand or arm from writing or typing. There is no effective treatment for the condition, which affects three to seven out of every 100,000 people, wrote the study's lead author, Jose Kruisdijk of the neurology department at the University of Amsterdam's Academic Medical Centre. Half of the trial participants were still receiving injections a year later. The patients were given two injections in two muscles, and symptom relief lasted from three to 18 months, or 4 1/2 months on average. Allergan, based in Irvine, California, last month said Q3 sales of Botox rose to €180 million ($238 million), an 11% increase from a year earlier. Paris-based Ipsen SA makes the botulinum toxin product called Dysport, which is sold in markets outside North America and Japan for therapeutic purposes. Ipsen licensed the North American and Japanese rights to Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., which is preparing to ask US regulators for clearance to sell the product. Shares of Ipsen rose 1 cent to €34.31 at 9:16 a.m. in Paris. The stock has gained about 43 percent this year. The Amsterdam Medical Centre received an unrestricted research grant from Ipsen, which had no role in the study. Ipsen and Allergan contributed travel grants to the researchers. Side effects from the toxin included mild and temporary muscle weakness and pain at the injection site, the study said. (Bloomberg)