The therapeutic effects and pathophysiology of botulinum toxin a on voiding dysfunction due to urethral sphincter dysfunction

Yao Lin Kao, Kuan Hsun Huang, Hann Chorng Kuo, Yin Chien Ou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Neurogenic and non-neurogenic urethral sphincter dysfunction are common causes of voiding dysfunction. Injections of botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) into the urethral sphincter have been used to treat urethral sphincter dysfunction (USD) refractory to conventional treatment. Since its first use for patients with detrusor sphincter dyssynergia in 1988, BoNT-A has been applied to various causes of USD, including dysfunctional voiding, Fowler's syndrome, and poor relaxation of the external urethral sphincter. BoNT-A is believed to decrease urethral resistance via paralysis of the striated sphincter muscle through inhibition of acetylcholine release in the neuromuscular junction. Recovery of detrusor function in patients with detrusor underactivity combined with a hyperactive sphincter also suggested the potential neuromodulation effect of sphincteric BoNT-A injection. A large proportion of patients with different causes of USD report significant improvement in voiding after sphincteric BoNT-A injections. However, patient satisfaction might not increase with an improvement in the symptoms because of concomitant side effects including exacerbated incontinence, urinary urgency, and over-expectation. Nonetheless, in terms of efficacy and safety, BoNT-A is still a reasonable option for refractory voiding function. To date, studies focusing on urethral sphincter BoNT-A injections have been limited to the heterogeneous etiologies of USD. Further well-designed studies are thus needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertoxins11120728
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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