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Mechanisms of pain

Prof. Stephen McMahon, King’s College London, United Kingdom

What does pain have to do with toxins? Clinical evidence for analgesic effects of botulinum neurotoxins has been reported early on in their use. When used for cosmetic reasons, it had been accidentally noted that neurotoxins exerted additional analgesic effects in migraine patients. Pain reduction, exceeding the sole effect of muscle relaxation, was also observed when neurotoxins were injected for relief of muscle tension in neurological disorders. Two potential - central and peripheral - mechanisms have been attributed to botulinum toxin's analgesic actions.

In his keynote lecture, Prof. Stephen McMahon (King’s College London, United Kingdom) talked about two important processes, i.e. peripheral and central sensitisation. He asked, "if you are trying to develop a therapy, where should you be targeting your therapies to alleviate pain? We do not have a very complete answer to that question," he conceded, "but the data that we do have, strongly suggest that peripheral mecha...

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