Botulinum Type A FAQs

Are Botox Cosmetic and Dysport safe?

Botox Cosmetic and Botox (made by Allergan) have 6 U.S. FDA label approvals, including treatment of expression lines/facial wrinkles and hyperhidrosis.

Dysport (made by Medicis) has 2 U.S. FDA label approvals, including treatment of expression lines/facial wrinkles.

When injected by a properly qualified and trained doctor in an appropriate medical setting, U.S. FDA-approved Botox Cosmetic and Dysport are an extremely safe treatment.

Is botulinum type A toxic?

Botox®, Botox® Cosmetic and Dysport® are FDA-approved drugs, and a naturally-derived protein called botulinum toxin. Toxins are naturally occurring substances that at defined doses are capable of causing illness. Botox® or Dysport injections are used to correct functional nuerologic disorders or for cosmetic reasons. When injected properly with appropriate dosing, the risk of complications is extremely low. However, as with any medical treatment, there is the potential for adverse effects, and therefore, prior to treatment patients must be informed about the potential risks of these treatments.

Are wrinkle reducing injections or botulinum a form of botulism?

No. Botulinum type A is a naturally occurring protein. Even in high doses, it does not result in botulism.

Do botulinum injections paralyze my muscles?

The term paralysis suggests a permanent loss of movement resulting from injury to a nerve or muscle. Botulinum blocks the ability of the stimulating nerve to cause contraction of the injected muscle. This does not result in permanent muscle injury or paralysis. It does reduce or substantially eliminate the ability of this injected muscle to contract and produce overlying skin wrinkles. This effect is transient and generally lasts about 3 to 4 months.

What are the potential risks of botulinum injections?

The greatest risk is when a drug is not injected properly. You may receive limited benefit, or you may experience a condition called ptosis (a dropping of the area injected). It is possible, but unlikely, that you will experience a mild headache following treatment. It is possible, but rare, that you may experience mild flu-like symptoms after your injections.

Can Botox treat headaches?

Botox (made by Allergan) and Dysport (made by Medicis) is technically classified as a neurotoxin and has been used in research and off-label by neurologists to treat migraine headaches.

Is there an age limit for Botox or Dysport?

Botox or Dysport for cosmetic purposes should not be administered to anyone under 18 years of age.

Who should not have wrinkle reducing injections?

If you are being treated for any neurological disorder, you should first consult your doctor. Some individuals with very lax facial muscles may not be good candidates as the injections can cause ptosis, or sagging, rather than have a positive cosmetic effect.

Is there any other form of botulinum?

Botulinum type B, also known as Myobloc is U.S. FDA approved only for the treatment of cervical dystonia. It is not the same as, nor an equivalent substitute for, botulinum type A, or Botox or Dysport.

Are there cheaper alternatives to Botox and Dysport?

No. If you are offered a “generic” or “cheaper” solution to botulinum type A, you should refuse as there are no proven safe or effective less costly alternatives to Botox or Dysport.

Are there creams that mimic the result of wrinkle reducing injections?

Topical creams can only affect the dermis, or the upper portion of your skin. Botox or Dysport is injected into your muscle layer. While topical creams may improve the surface appearance of your skin, the wrinkles treated by injections originate much deeper, from the contractions of your facial muscles.

I’ve been invited to a Botox party. Is this safe?

No medical treatment should be administered in a social setting, whether alcohol is served or not.

My salon / spa/cosmetic counter / neighbor offers wrinkle reducing injections. Is this safe?

No. Like any medical treatment, a wrinkle reducing injection should only be prescribed by and injected under the direct supervision of a properly qualified physician in a properly equipped medical setting (doctor’s facility).

What is the difference between Botox and Botox Cosmetic?

Botox® is a botulinum type A that has been reviewed by the FDA and approved to treat specific medical disorders such as cervical dystonia, strabismus and cerebral palsy. Botox® Cosmetic is a botulinum type A that has been reviewed by the FDA and approved to treat frown lines; it is also used off-label in a similar fashion to treat other cosmetic indications.

How do I choose a doctor to inject Botox or Dysport?

To learn about the proper qualifications for a doctor who prescribes Botox, go to Your Doctor.