“I love what Botox does for me but I’ve been hearing the reports in the media and I don’t think I should use it any more.”

The call came in yesterday but I’ve been hearing similar comments recently from various sources. What’s going on? Why are people afraid of BOTOX®?

Here’s the buzz in the media:

Botox and a similar injection should come with stronger warnings following reports of 16 deaths after the botulinum toxin spread inside the body, a U.S. consumer group said on Thursday.

Death sounds pretty bad. Why hasn’t the FDA pulled BOTOX® off the market?

The FDA is keeping watch on the situation. Here’s a communication from the FDA:

FDA has received reports of systemic adverse reactions including respiratory compromise and death following the use of botulinum toxins types A and B for both FDA-approved and unapproved uses. The reactions reported are suggestive of botulism, which occurs when botulinum toxin spreads in the body beyond the site where it was injected. The most serious cases had outcomes that included hospitalization and death, and occurred mostly in children treated for cerebral palsy-associated limb spasticity. Use of botulinum toxins for treatment of limb spasticity (severe arm and leg muscle spasms) in children or adults is not an approved use in the U.S.

The FDA report indicates that adverse reactions were related to BOTOX® use for muscular diseases such as neck spasms (cervical dystonia), cerebral palsy and so on, not cosmetic use.

The dosages associated with serious adverse effects used in adults ranged from 100 – 700 units. These are high doses. If I were doing an average female face, targeting frown lines between the eyes, crows feet, and lifting the brow, I use about 50 units; for a man, I would use 70 – 80 units.

The dosages used in children ranged from 6.25 to 32 Units/kilogram. If I injected a small 50 kg woman with 50 units, that would be 1 Unit/kilogram, just to give you an idea of the difference in dosage. If you take a small person, i.e. a child, and inject a large dose of just about any drug, you’re bound to get serious adverse effects.

Okay, so far we have no problems with BOTOX® for cosmetic use, only rare serious adverse effects with BOTOX® for medical use in adults and no deaths in adults from Botox.

But wait a minute, maybe you thought you heard about deaths with BOTOX® from cosmetic use in adults?

In 2006, a Florida doctor gave himself, his wife and some of his clients a dose of paralysis from a counterfeit form of BOTOX®. Obviously this black market drug wasn’t purified or tested for safety the way authentic BOTOX® is.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that someone here in Burlington was offering black market “Botox” in the back room of a hair or nail salon so you need to be on the lookout. The vial for the fake stuff looks almost identical to the real. If you come in to the clinic, I’ll show you the hologram of the manufacturer Allergan on the label that confirms I carry the real deal.

To me, BOTOX® Cosmetic is a tool, just like my laser, IPL, and RF equipment are tools. I have a lot of knowledge, training and experience on how to use them all. In the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, BOTOX® Cosmetic is safe and effective and gives beautiful results. In the wrong hands, the results are unpredictable.

Excuse me while I go and top up my BOTOX®.