What is Botox?

Botox is the trade name for the botulinum toxin protein, a neurotoxin made by a bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum.

In excessive doses, the protein leads to botulism, which is a rare illness which causes paralysis and is most commonly associated with food poisoning.

Despite this, the protein is also used widely during cosmetic procedures to treat various conditions such as lazy eye, creases in the face, wrinkles, uncontrolled blinking as well as glebellar lines or furrows of the brow.

The amount of the protein is diluted to avoid a negative response and it is injected into the target area to weaken the muscles, hampering their ability to contract.

FDA Approval

The use of botox was first sanctioned by the FDA in 1989 to treat disorders of the eye muscle such as blepharospasm or uncontrolled blinking as well as strabismus or misaligned eyes.

In 2000, the treatment was approved as a means to treat cervical dystonia which results in uncontrolled muscle contractions of the neck and shoulders. And, finally, in 2002, the FDA approved the use of botox on patients who had undesirable frown and wrinkle lines.

Studies showed that the treatment was able to significantly reduce the appearance of these lines in patients for up to six months.

Side Effects and Risks Associated with Botox

There are many benefits of the procedure but, as with any treatment, there are certainly side effects which should be considered.

A very small percentage of individuals treated with the protein do experience some soreness and bruising surrounding the areas of treatment with minor hemorrhaging being very rare. S

ome patients have also reported flu-like symptoms such as headaches and nausea directly following the treatment but this has been seen in less than 10% of treated individuals.

Very rarely, patients may experience some weakening of the muscles which can be caused by the physician using an excessive amount of the protein.

This “drooping” has only been reported by approximately 1% of patients. This muscle weakness, even if it occurs, is certainly temporary with the drooping lasting no longer than 4 months.

There are certain conditions which would make Botox complications more likely. These individuals would be advised to consider another treatment option. Such conditions include bleeding disorders and multiple sclerosis.

Patients who are taking antibiotics are also discouraged from receiving the treatment until they are off their medications. Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding are also advised to delay treatment until a later date as there is no conclusive evidence as to whether or not the treatment is safe for the mother or her child in these situations.

If you think you would benefit from Botox treatments, contact a qualified physician who specializes in the treatment. Ensure that you provide the physician with your complete medical history so that he or she will be able to determine whether you are at a higher risk for complications.