Dysport 101: Everything to Know About the Fast-Acting Neurotoxin

Dysport 101: Everything to Know About the Fast-Acting Neurotoxin featured image
Getty Images / Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only. Not an actual patient.

Thinking about trying injectables to treat fine lines and wrinkles, specifically those frown lines in between the brows? You’re not alone. Injections to reduce those lines are one of the most popular in-office treatments available right now. While there are quite a few neurotoxins available on the market, there’s one that particularly caught our eye recently: Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA) for between the brows frown lines.

Please see Full Important Safety Information, including Distant Spread of Toxin Effect Boxed Warning, at the end of this article.

While many of us are aware that these injections exist, not all of us know exactly how they work and who should try them. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we tapped Metairie, LA dermatologist Kate Holcomb, MD to walk us through the most important facts to know about Dysport.

Fact #1: Dysport is a neurotoxin.

“Just like the other wrinkle-relaxing products on the market, Dysport blocks acetylcholine release from neurons, thus limiting or preventing muscle contraction,” says Dr. Holcomb. “By reducing muscle contraction in the treated area, it relaxes and reduces the wrinkles already present on the skin and helps temporarily prevent them from getting deeper or worsening.”

Neurotoxins generally take about a week or two to reach their full effect of reducing muscle movement in the targeted area. Studies with Dysport show noticeable improvement just two to three days post-treatment.*1-3 Also, Dysport may last up to five months. † 1-2,4

* A secondary endpoint based on Kaplan-Meier estimates of cumulative rate of time to onset of response. The median time to onset of response was 3 days in GL-1 (Dysport 55/105 [52%], Placebo 3/53 [6%]) and GL-2 (Dysport 36/71 [51%], Placebo 9/71 [13%]), and 2 days in GL-3 (Dysport 110/200 [55%], Placebo 4/100 [4%]).

†GL-1 and GL-3 evaluated subjects for at least 150 days following treatment. Based on a ≥1-Grade GLSS improvement from baseline utilizing data from two double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled pivotal studies (GL-1, GL-3) in a post-hoc analysis.

Fact #2: Dysport specifically treats frown lines.

Dysport is approved for the temporary improvement in the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar lines—aka frown lines—between the eyebrows. This area is often a cause for concern for many, particularly because the lines here can make people appear worn out or displeased, even when their face is at rest.

Fact #3: Dysport injections can be given to a wide range of people.

Any person less than 65 years of age looking to improve their facial wrinkles related to muscle movement in between the eyebrows may be a good candidate for Dysport. However, there are a few special cases of people who should avoid it.

You are not considered appropriate for Dysport injections if you are under 18 years of age, have had an allergic reaction to other neuromodulators that you’ve previously tried or if the ingredients in Dysport are a known allergen for you. If you have an infection along the forehead, you should also reconsider Dysport. Finally, people that are currently pregnant or breastfeeding should postpone trying Dysport, too.

Fact #4: Dysport’s safety record is impressive.

“Dysport has a well-established safety profile,” says Dr. Holcomb. “It has been used clinically worldwide for over 30 years with over 12 years of cosmetic use in the United States.”

For a full list of side effects please see Full Important Safety Information, including Distant Spread of Toxin Effect Boxed Warning at the bottom of this article. The most common side effects are nose and throat irritation, headache, injection site pain, injection site skin reaction, upper respiratory tract infection, eyelid swelling, eyelid drooping, sinus inflammation, and nausea.

Fact #5: Dysport is a “lunch break” procedure.

Appointments for Dysport are usually so quick—typically only 20 minutes—that you can even get it done during your lunch break. “The injecting takes about two to three minutes, but the general preparation is what is involved with the remaining time,” says Dr. Holcomb. “Because this is a medical treatment, we confirm the medical and surgical history, we clean and prep the skin, and we photograph the patient with multiple expressions and angles [before treatment].”

The bottom line

Injections with Dysport are typically a minimal prep and minimal downtime procedure.5 The treatment itself is rather quick, and results look subtle and natural. With Dysport, patients can expect that their fine lines and wrinkles between the brows will be softened without having their authentic appearance dramatically changed. As with any treatment, though, it’s important to go to an experienced injector to ensure your results meet your expectations.


  1. Data on file. GL-Y-97-52120-719 (GL-1) Clinical Study Report. Fort Worth, TX: Galderma Laboratories, L.P., 2007.
  2. Data on file. GL-Y-97-52120-718 (GL-3) Clinical Study Report. Fort Worth, TX: Galderma Laboratories, L.P., 2007.
  3. Data on file. GL-Y-97-52120-085 (GL-2) Clinical Study Report. Fort Worth, TX: Galderma Laboratories, L.P., 2007.
  4. Data on file. MA-35497. Post Hoc Analysis. Fort Worth, TX: Galderma Laboratories, L.P., 2017.
  5. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Databank Statistics 2019. The Aesthetic Society. https://www.surgery.org/sites/default/files/AestheticSociety_Stats2019Book_FINAL.pdf. Accessed July 7, 2021

Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA) is a prescription injection for temporary improvement in the look of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in adults less than 65 years of age.

Important Safety Information

What is the most important information you should know about Dysport? Spread of Toxin Effects: In some cases, the effects of Dysport and all botulinum toxin products may affect areas of the body away from the injection site. Symptoms can happen hours to weeks after injection and may include swallowing and breathing problems, loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, or loss of bladder control. Swallowing and breathing problems can be life threatening and there have been reports of death. You are at the highest risk if these problems are pre‐existing before injection.

These effects could make it unsafe for you to drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.

Do not have Dysport treatment if you: are allergic to Dysport or any of its ingredients (see the end of the Medication Guide for a list of ingredients), are allergic to cow’s milk protein, had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product, such as Myobloc®, Botox®, or Xeomin®, have a skin infection at the planned injection site, under 18 years of age, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The dose of Dysport is not the same as the dose of any other botulinum toxin product and cannot be compared to the dose of any other product you may have used.

Tell your doctor about any swallowing or breathing difficulties and all your muscle or nerve conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease], myasthenia gravis, or Lambert‐Eaton syndrome, which may increase the risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing. Serious allergic reactions have occurred with the use of Dysport. Dry eye has also been reported.

Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you have surgical changes to your face, very weak muscles in the treatment area, any abnormal facial change, injection site inflammation, droopy eyelids or sagging eyelid folds, deep facial scars, thick oily skin, wrinkles that can’t be smoothed by spreading them apart, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal and other natural products. Using Dysport with certain other medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines while taking Dysport without talking to your doctor first.

Especially tell your doctor if you: have received any other botulinum toxin product, such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA), in the last four months or any in the past (be sure your doctor knows exactly which product you received, have recently received an antibiotic by injection, take muscle relaxants, take an allergy or cold medicine, or take a sleep medicine.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects are nose and throat irritation, headache, injection site pain, injection site skin reaction, upper respiratory tract infection, eyelid swelling, eyelid drooping, sinus inflammation, and nausea.

Ask your doctor if Dysport is right for you.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see Dysport Full Prescribing Information including Medication Guide at DysportUSA.com.

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