Botox® can be an effective treatment for wrinkles, migraines, and muscle problems. Also known as botulinum toxin type A, Botox® is made from bacteria that cause botulism, a form of food poisoning. A low concentration of the bacteria is injected into muscles where the muscles become periodically paralyzed. Botox® is used for cosmetic and medical purposes, and being aware of its side effects and safety issues is necessary if you are considering it with your doctor.
Botulinum toxin began being used by surgeons to treat spasms and neck pain in the 1980s. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since approved botulinum toxin as a temporary treatment for some cosmetic issues in adults.
Botox® is used cosmetically as a treatment for frown lines and wrinkles on the face. It can also be used to relieve migraines, eye-muscle problems, droopy eyelids, backaches, muscle spasms, and excessive sweating. Botox® should be used under a doctor’s care only, because it can be dangerous if it is not administered correctly. Patients may see some results in a few days, but full results become apparent in about two weeks. The treatment is not permanent and lasts about three to six months.
Although Botox® is approved by the FDA for adults ages 18 to 65, some people should not use it. If you have allergies, muscle problems, bleeding disorders, or current infections at the injection site, you should discuss your options with your doctor. A doctor should also be informed of any surgeries, medications currently being taken, or a history of seizures or heart problems. There have not been any sufficient studies conducted to determine if Botox® is safe for use in pregnant or nursing women.
What to Expect
Patients receiving Botox® injections can resume normal activities immediately after receiving the injections--no recovery time is needed. Some possible and temporary side effects include pain, redness and bruising at the injection site, headache, nausea, facial weakness, runny nose, sensitivity to light, and indigestion. These side effects will disappear within a couple of days.
Trouble swallowing, slurred speech, breathing problems, drooping eyelids, loss of bladder control and hoarseness could indicate a serious problem. It is possible for the bacteria in a Botox® injection to spread beyond the treatment area and cause symptoms similar to botulism. A doctor should be contacted immediately if any of these side effects occur.
Staying aware of the side effects to watch out for and the best candidates for Botox® can help you to make the right decision with your doctor.