There is presently no cure for spasmodic dysphonia. Current treatments only help reduce the symptoms of this voice disorder. Voice therapy may reduce some symptoms, especially in mild cases. An operation that cuts one of the nerves of the vocal folds (the recurrent laryngeal nerve) has improved the voice of many for several months to several years but the improvement is often temporary. Others may benefit from psychological counseling to help them to accept and live with their voice problem. Still others may benefit from job counseling that will help them select a line of work more compatible with their speaking limitations.
Currently the most promising treatment for reducing the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia is injections of very small amounts of botulinum toxin (botox) directly into the affected muscles of the larynx. Botulinum toxin is produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. This is the bacterium that occurs in improperly canned foods and honey. The toxin weakens muscles by blocking the nerve impulse to the muscle. The botox injections generally improve the voice for a period of three to four months after which the voice symptoms gradually return. Reinjections are necessary to maintain a good speaking voice. Initial side effects that usually subside after a few days to a few weeks may include a temporary weak, breathy voice or occasional swallowing difficulties. Botox may relieve the symptoms of both adductor and abductor spasmodic dysphonia.
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