Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and related species. It prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction and thus causes flaccid paralysis. Infection with the bacterium causes the disease botulism. The toxin is also used commercially in medicine, cosmetics and research.
Botulinum is the most acutely lethal toxin known, with an estimated human median lethal dose (LD50) of 1.3–2.1 ng/kg intravenously or intramuscularly and 10–13 ng/kg when inhaled. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires a boxed warning stating that when locally administered the toxin may spread from the injection site to other areas of the body, causing botulism. The warning was the result of deaths associated with its uses
There are seven types of botulinum toxin, named type A–G. Type A and B are capable of causing disease in humans, and are also used commercially and medically. Types C–G are less common; types E and F can cause disease in humans, while the other types cause disease in other animals. Botulinum toxin types A and B are used in medicine to treat various muscle spasms and diseases characterized by overactive muscle. The commercial form is marketed under the brand name Botox, among others. Botox is made by Allergan