Neurotoxins

Brands to look for: Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Xeomin

Doctors began to explore the medical uses for the family of neurotoxins called Botulinum Toxin type A as early as the 1950s. The first study to demonstrate its therapeutic value was published in 1973; it was first tried on humans in 1979.

Botox Cosmetic received FDA approval for the treatment of misaligned eyes, facial spasms and uncontrollable blinking in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2002 when Botox Cosmetic was approved as a cosmetic treatment for improving facial frown lines and wrinkles.

Today Botox Cosmetic is a household name.

Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin are injectable solutions known as “denervating agents”, “neuromodulators” or “neurotoxins” that temporarily block nerve receptors on the musclewhich helps prevent lines and wrinkles from forming. Neuromodulators have many cosmetic applications that help reverse various signs of aging like the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles, eyebrow and frown lines and crow’s-feet around the eyes to name just a few. 

Beyond treating expression-related creases, physicians currently use Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeoin for a wide variety of FDA-approved aesthetic and medical treatments—from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and alleviating TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, to chronic migraine headaches or as a nonsurgical wrinkle relaxer.

New uses continue to be discovered. These innovative uses are best left to experienced injectors, since they are extremely technique-dependent and there’s a higher risk of adverse effects.

Botox Cosmetic is manufactured in the U.S. by Allergan, Inc. for both therapeutic and cosmetic use. Other Botulinum Toxin type A denervating agents available in the U.S. and approved for therapeutic and cosmetic use include Xeomin (manufactured in Germany by Merz—it launched in early 2012), and Dysport (from Ireland).  

These nonsurgical injectables are FDA approved to aesthetically treat frown lines between the eyebrows. Off-label, Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin are used for treating crow’s-feet, horizontal forehead lines, down-turned corners of the mouth and skin bands on the neck. All have minimal downtime and results generally lasting about three to six months, with Botox Cosmetic typically delivering results lasting from three to four months; Dysport, up to four months; and Xeomin, up to three months, however, the effect may last significantly longer, or shorter, depending on the patient. Results are typically visible in a few days, but it may take upward of a week for the final results to be noticeable—the effects of Dysport are said to take effect quicker. Neuromodulators are not permanent solutions—you will want to repeat treatments every three to four months.

Your doctor may choose to use them in conjunction with a filler to provide the best results.  

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