Happy Birthday, Botox

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Since its FDA approval for aesthetic treatment in April 2002, the neurotoxin Botox has gone from a somewhat controversial treatment to a celebrity-endorsed wrinkle remedy. Injectables have become the new norm in cosmetic treatment. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the most common nonsurgical procedures last year were Botox and hyaluronic acid fillers.

It’s come a long way from its origins as an FDA approved treatment for two rare eye muscle disorders (strabismus and blepharospasm). The original name, Oculinum, doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but shortly after Allergan secured that first FDA approval in 1989, the product was rebranded Botox. Once physicians realized that Botox could treat wrinkles, the rest was history.

Botox reached nearly $1.6 billion in sales last year, attributing 51 percent to therapeutic uses and 49 percent to aesthetic uses. It became so successful that it gained its first FDA-approved wrinkle-reducing competitor in 2009-the sincerest form of flattery in the business world. However, Botox continues to evolve as new uses for the product are discovered. Used off-label, it treats a host of concerns such as crow’s-feet, down-turned corners of the mouth and bands on the neck. You may be surprised to learn that it has also been used, off label, to aesthetically treat enlarged pores, droopy eyebrows, a pointy chin and a droopy nose tip. Additionally, it’s an FDA-approved treatment for medical conditions ranging from chronic migraine to excessive sweating. Next up: the company is seeking FDA approval for the treatment of crow’s-feet.

So here’s to you, Botox, on your 10th birthday. You don’t look a day over seven.

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