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Botox: Panacea or Poison?

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Amidst the wave of skin treatment and therapy hype, there is always a strong focus on botox treatment. However, botox treatment requires the use of a dangerous toxin, botulism toxin type A, which produces the food poisoning known as botulism. While used in purified, low-concentrations, how safe is the actual procedure?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), botox, or onabotulinum toxin type A, is approved for cervical dystonia, severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, blepharospasm, and strabismus. While these usages are approved, the FDA indicates several warnings with the use of botox. Use of botox can cause the spread of the toxin to other parts of the body, which may be lethal. The use of botox can cause serious health risks if performed by an untrained individual.

The Mayo Clinic's website mentions a series of side effects and complications resulting from the use of botox. The area surrounding injection may become redder accompanied with pain and bruising. Patients may experience headaches, nausea, and flu-like symptoms. As with the FDA, the Mayo Clinic warns of the spread of botulism toxin throughout the body. Symptoms of botulism poisoning include muscle weakness, breathing difficulty, slurred speech, and trouble swallowing.

Before receiving botox treatment, is important to get a proper assessment. The Mayo Clinic recommends meeting with your doctor to understand the benefits and detriments of the treatment. As with most procedures, an adequate medical history and physical examination is required to minimize risk. Certain medications, such as aspirin, warfarin, heparin, and other blood-thinning medications can cause serious complications and should not be used during the treatment.

The actual procedure is dependent on the treatment required. Certain wrinkles may require only one injection, while crow’s feet may require two to three injections and furrows in the forehead may require five or more. There is generally pan associated with the procedure, but it is not considered unbearable and anesthesia is not used. The treatment does not prevent daily activity, but the injected area should not be touched. This can cause toxin migration, leading to facial weakness and drooping. The results of the treatment may appear within two days, but approximately two weeks is needed to observe the full effect. This treatment is not permanent, however; and follow-up injections will be required.

The most important question is: Is botox right for you? Botox is a dangerous toxin and improper treatment can be lethal. Further, botox is not a permanent solution, and will require continued application. Before deciding on this treatment, consult your physician and determine if botox is right for you.
1) http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/ucm174949.htm
2) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/botox/MY00078/DSECTION=results

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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