In recent months, a few news stories have caused some of my patients to ask about the continued safety of BOTOX® Cosmetic. Unfortunately, these news stories have served more to confuse many people than to set the record straight. I’d like to share some facts about the long track record of BOTOX Cosmetic safety.
For starters, there has never been a death caused by BOTOX Cosmetic in its 25 year history of worldwide use. In that time, millions of women and men have had tens of millions of treatments. In addition, reports of serious side effects have been and continue to be quite rare.
It is true that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed BOTOX and a competitor, Myobloc, under review to evaluate certain serious adverse effects following the use of these products. In large part, this review stems from the use of BOTOX for non-cosmetic purposes. Many of my BOTOX Cosmetic patients at my practice in Illinois are unaware that BOTOX actually has dozens of medical uses, such as treating excessive sweating, crossed eyes, and even cerebral palsy. In particular, the adverse effects that prompted FDA review involved children with cerebral palsy who were administered doses of BOTOX that were 15 to 20 times the dose used for cosmetic purposes.
For over 5 years, BOTOX Cosmetic has been approved by the FDA to temporarily improve the appearance of certain facial wrinkles. Many other uses of BOTOX, while considered to be medically sound, have not received rigorous FDA review and approval. If pre-market studies and testing had revealed serious risks associated with the use of BOTOX for cosmetic purposes, the FDA simply would not have approved its use in the United States.
I also tell my Joliet, Frankfort, and Naperville BOTOX Cosmetic patients to keep in mind that the most prominent case of serious adverse symptoms following injection of botulinum toxin for cosmetic use occurred not with BOTOX but when 4 patients received a highly concentrated dose of an illegal and unlicensed toxin product. No reputable physician would use illegal substances for cosmetic injections. If anything, this tragedy underscores the importance of choosing your aesthetic health professional carefully and does not in any way call into question the safety of BOTOX.
The bottom line is simple: BOTOX is safe for cosmetic use. With so few patients having so few complications, it’s likely that having BOTOX treatment is one of the least risky things you will do in your day. Of course, like all medical procedures, there are certain complications that can occur following treatment and it is extremely important that you understand these risks, such as product migration and unintentional muscle weakening or paralysis, before your BOTOX Cosmetic injections.
To protect the health of my patients, I continue to monitor medical studies and mainstream press reports about the safety of BOTOX. Naperville, Joliet, and other Greater Chicago residents who come to my office are thoroughly screened to ensure they are good candidates for treatment. If you have additional questions about BOTOX safety, be sure to talk with your physician.