FAQs About Botox and LEMS

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Many people enjoy using treatments that enhance beauty, such as Botox. For others, Botox might be used to ease migraines or treat other medical conditions.

However, for patients with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) and myasthenia gravis, Botox treatments can be very dangerous.

What are LEMS and myasthenia gravis?

LEMS and myasthenia gravis are both progressive neurological disorders that cause muscle weakness. Although the causes are different, many of their symptoms diseases are similar, and it’s not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed with myasthenia gravis before being diagnosed with LEMS.

LEMS and myasthenia gravis patients should discuss with their primary physician before receiving Botox as treatment.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Botox: 

What is Botox?

Botox contains a purified toxin from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This is the bacteria that causes botulism if it infects you.

The purified toxin can be used to paralyze specific muscle groups in the area where it is injected.

In beauty treatments, Botox is used to temporarily smooth wrinkles on the face.

Botox may also be used to treat conditions like excessive sweating or overactive bladder.

How is Botox administered?

Botox is injected into the muscles or nerves to paralyze them. The procedure takes only a few minutes.

How long does a Botox treatment last?

Botox treatments last from three to 12 months, depending on the condition being treated.

Why should LEMS and myasthenia gravis patients avoid Botox?

While in most cases Botox’s toxin remains in the injection site, in some it can leach from the injection site and cause muscle weakness and paralysis elsewhere, the FDA warns. Swallowing and breathing difficulties, for example, are not uncommon in people treated with Botox.

In LEMS and myasthenia gravis patients, who already may have muscle weakness that may affect their breathing, symptoms may be exacerbated by the administration of Botox. In extreme cases, the paralysis caused by Botox can be fatal to these patients.


Last updated: Nov. 25, 2019


Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.