Botox® will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from Friday as a way to deal with a common form of incontinence.
The drug, Botox® more is commonly associated with treating out facial wrinkles by temporarily paralysing facial muscles also can be used to calm a bladder muscle in overactive bladder (OAB) condition — but until now has cost $500 a treatment in Australia.
OAB occurs when the nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time causing the muscle to squeeze without warning creating the urgent need to urinate, often frequently.
Listing on the Professional Standards Board (PBS) will mean tens of thousands of people with the condition will be able to get an injection into the bladder muscle in a day surgery procedure, giving relief lasting on average nine months, for free. Botox® also targets the nerves that control the sensation of urgency.
Registered nurse Sjaan Bray, 51 began experiencing symptoms of OAB a decade ago which got progressively worse. She had her first Botox® treatment 12 months ago and has just had a second injection.
“It really was a life changing experience from the day I walked out of Calvary,” she said. “It had interfered with my sport, I would leave a conversation to find a toilet, even leave a trolley full of groceries at a check-out, I cut down on my fluid intake as a precaution and it affected my work.
“Now I can live a normal life — I just came back form a trip to Italy and travelling was a lot easier not being constantly worried about being able to find a toilet.
“I’d urge anyone with the condition to see their GP — there is no need to be embarrassed and once you have the treatment you won’t look back.”
Botox® is listed on the PBS for eight conditions including migraine, spasticity and excessive sweating.