Stroke patients and those who have suffered traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries will save thousands of dollars for Botox through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, to treat involuntary muscle movements, or spasticity, in their lower limbs.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians will suffer the effects of stroke, with more than a third (38 per cent) of survivors suffering spasticity within 12 months, while 80 per cent of those with spinal cord injury also suffering spasticity.
Allergan, which produces Botox, says inclusion of the treatment on the PBS for adult stroke and brain injury patients will “help support the management of their symptoms, quality of life and reduce the burden of disease”.
“Spasticity resulting from injury to the central nervous system causes tightening or stiffness in muscles which can lead to jerking, twisting and involuntary contraction of the limbs, poor motor control, weakness and fatigue,” it said in a statement on Monday.
Professor John Olver, Director of Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Chronic Pain Clinical Institute at Victoria’s private Epworth clinic has welcomed the government’s inclusion of the treatment on the PBS.
“There are thousands of Australians living with the effects of stroke, brain or spinal injury, many of whom are also dealing with spasticity. Being able to do basic day-to-day tasks like wear shoes and socks correctly, go to the bathroom without assistance, or walk without pain, have the potential to make an enormous improvement to their quality of life,” Professor Olver said.