‘Counterfeit’ Botox Injections Reported in 2 States: Everything You Need to Know

‘Counterfeit’ Botox Injections Reported in 2 States: Everything You Need to Know featured image

Individuals in two states—four in Tennessee and two in Illinois—have been hospitalized with botulism effects after receiving cosmetic injections in non-medical settings, as reported by CNN in a report published Wednesday, April 10.

According to a report published by the Tennessee Department of Health, “ongoing investigation suggests that the product administered was counterfeit.”

“Cosmetic injections should be an FDA-approved product, administered by licensed providers and in licensed settings,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement to CNN. “The sources of these botulinum toxin products are unknown or unverified at this time.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that botulism is a rare but potentially fatal side effect of Botox caused by the toxin spreading to other areas of the body. Symptoms include blurred vision and drooping eyelids, double vision, loss of strength and muscle weakness, among others.

According to a second report published by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), both hospitalized patients “had received injections from a licensed nurse in LaSalle County who was performing work outside her authority.”

The IDPH is urging health providers to obtain a detailed “history on any recent receipt of botulinum toxin products, including purpose (e.g., cosmetic), name and address where the administration occurred, injection sites, number of doses administered, product used, date of administration and person who administered the injection.”

They’re also encouraging practitioners to “check with Allergan, the FDA approved maker of Botox, to make sure that the distributor they purchase from is authorized to distribute Botox.”

These cases are still under investigation. While Botox Cosmetic is generally regarded as a safe cosmetic procedure, it stresses the importance of staying vigilant to ensure you receive an FDA-approved product administered by licensed providers in authorized settings.

The laws about who can administer Botox vary by state. In Alabama, for example, only physicians are allowed to perform cosmetic injections. Per the Alabama Board of Nursing’s website, a 2021 ruling by the Board of Medical Examiners “determined these procedures (Botox, Restylane, Collagen, and Mesotherapy) to be the practice of medicine, requiring that each such procedure must be performed by a licensed physician.”

Whereas in Illinois and Tennessee, registered nurses can administer Botox injections so long as they’re under the supervision of a licensed physician.

“Illinois residents should exercise caution when considering cosmetic treatment,” said Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois health department. “Receiving these treatments in unlicensed, unapproved settings can put you or your loved ones at serious risk for health problems.”

“Please only seek cosmetic services under the care of licensed professionals trained to do these procedures and who use FDA approved products,” the report continued. “If you are experiencing any health problems after a recent cosmetic treatment, please contact your healthcare provider immediately for help and assistance.”

In response to this news, Botox Cosmetics has posted its complete boxed warning and medication guide on Instagram to ensure patients are fully informed about potential risks associated with the legitimate treatment.

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