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Botox®

  

 

Q. What is BOTOX®?

Botox® is the brand name for Botulinum Toxin Type A, made by a company called Allergan. Botulinum Toxin is available as types A, B, C, D, E, F and G, but only Type is A is generally used for cosmetic purposes. Vials of BOTOX® have exactly 100 units of Botulinum Toxin Type A in a dry powdered form.

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Q. What are the capabilities of this product?

BOTOX® is used to treat wrinkles, migraine headaches, muscle spasms, bladder problems and more. BOTOX® has been used for about 20 years as an extremely safe and effective medication.

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Q. Can I get botulism from BOTOX®?

No. Botulism is caused by bacteria that make huge quantities of botulinum toxin. There are NO bacteria in vials of BOTOX®.

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Q. I've read about people who've been seriously injured by BOTOX®. If BOTOX® is so safe, how did that happen?

A few years ago, some doctors bought vials of Botulinum Toxin Type A from a company (not Allergan) that sold the product for laboratory use. These vials had huge quantities of Botulinum Toxin Type A and were NEVER supposed to be used with humans. The doctors that bought these vials diluted the Botulinum Toxin Type A and pretended that it was BOTOX®. At least one of the doctors, forgot to dilute it, or did not dilute it enough. He then injected 2 patients, his girlfriend and himself with an enormous amount of Botulinum Toxin Type A. An average dose of BOTOX® might be 50 units. He may have injected over 1,000,000 units into each patient, which nearly killed them. Fortunately, they all survived.

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Q. How do I know if I am getting real BOTOX®?

Before you are injected, ask to see the vial of BOTOX® before the doctor puts it into the syringe. The vial should have an Allergan label with a holographic image. There should also be an expiration date on the vial. Then have the doctor load the syringe from the vial you have inspected while you watch. If the doctor gets offended that you are taking these precautions, find a new doctor.

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Q. How long will BOTOX® treatment last?

Typically BOTOX® treatments cause muscle relaxation for 2-3 months and wrinkle reduction for 3-4 months. If a patient gets BOTOX® treatments every 2-3 months, the muscles become weaker which allows future treatments to last even longer.

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Q. How do I know if I am getting enough BOTOX® vs. diluted BOTOX®?

You should be paying for the number of units of BOTOX® used in your treatment. Charging by the area or by the volume of BOTOX® does not make much sense and it is not very fair. The doctor decides when he is mixing the BOTOX® how much water to put in the vial. Since the water (called saline) costs almost nothing, the volume of the BOTOX® can be very misleading. Some areas take only a few units of BOTOX® to treat, other areas take many more units of BOTOX® to treat. We typically use 50 units of BOTOX® to treat 3-4 areas on a woman's face, and 75 units of BOTOX® to treat 3-4 areas on a man's face.

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Q. How often can I be treated with BOTOX®?

Typically clients will be treated with BOTOX® every 3-6 months. Others are happy with an annual BOTOX® treatment. Some of our clients are professional models who get treated every 8-10 weeks with BOTOX®.

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Q. I heard that if I get BOTOX® too often, I will become immune to it. Is that true?

Before 1997, the BOTOX® that was made had some traces of protein in it that caused some patients to create an antibody that inactivated it. This appeared to happen more often in patients who had a medical need for BOTOX®. The formulation of BOTOX® was changed in 1997 to eliminate these proteins. I am not aware of any cases of BOTOX® resistance in patients who got their first dose after 1997.

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Q. What are the potential side effects of BOTOX®?

If the BOTOX® is placed too near the eye lids, it can cause the upper eyelid to droop or the lower eye lid to sag. Once in a while, the eyebrows can be raised too high, which gives the patient a quizzical look. The upper eye lid problem can be treated with drops. The lower eye lid problem wears off by itself, but may temporarily require an eye patch. The quizzical eye brow can be easily fixed with a tiny injection of BOTOX®. The doctor should be able to modify the injections to prevent the same problems from happening again in the future. Other rare side effects include a mild headache, nausea and flu like symptoms.

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