Taking a dietary supplement of organic zinc and the enzyme phytase four days before receiving botulinum toxin injections made the toxin more effective in 93 percent of patients tested in a recent study at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

Dr. Charles Soparkar’s research has resulted in a patent-pending dietary supplement combining zinc and phytase (trademarked as ZYTAZE™) to be available to patients as early as this month. Forty-one of the 44 patients who took the oral supplements prior to botulinum toxin injections (Botox®, Dysport®, or Myobloc®) showed improved results. Many of the patients in the study were being treated for a rare form of eyelid spasm called blepha¬rospasm and had previously responded poorly to botulinum toxin injections.

Soparkar’s research team will present the ef¬fect of dietary zinc supplementation on botulinum toxin treatments at the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery’s 41st Annual Fall Scientific Symposium on Oct. 14 in Chicago.

“Surprisingly, the results showed that in over ninety percent of the patients studied, the zinc/phytase combination resulted in a remarkable improved responsiveness to treatment of blepharospasm using the same amount of botulinum toxin as previously used,” said Soparkar, M.D., Ph.D., an oculoplastic surgeon at The Methodist Hospital. "The toxins seemed to have greater effect and last longer. Potentially, this could mean using less toxin, offering patients financial savings, greater safety, and more consistent results.”

Physicians began using botulinum toxin for blepha¬rospasm in the 1980s. Today, Botox®, the first FDA approved botulinum toxin, is commonly used for cosmetic purposes as well as the treatment of many medical conditions.

ZYTAZE is licensed to OCuSOFT, Inc., a com¬pany dedicated to ophthalmic research, development and patient care, and will be available as a prescription supplement.

This research is the result of an on-going collaboration between Methodist’s Department of Ophthalmology and Texas Children’s Hospital’s Division of Plastic Surgery.

Study Details

In a modified double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study, Soparkar’s team compared the effectiveness of BTX injections (Botox®, Myobloc®, or Dysport®) with either zinc citrate 50 mg plus phytase 3,000 PU, zinc gluconate 10 mg, or placebo supplementation in individuals being treated for blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, and cosmetic wrinkles. Duration of effect was compared to each participant's established pre-study treatment interval, and efficacy was participant-graded using participants’ experience prior to study inclusion as a baseline. Descriptive statistical analysis determined mean duration and effect rating for each supplementation group, and 95 percent confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to determine statistical significance.