Botulinum toxin (Botox)

Botulinum toxin (Botox)

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* Botulinum toxin, popularly known as Botox, can be used to reduce facial wrinkles. Can also be used to reduce localized sweating.

Botulinum toxin (Trade Name: Botox) was originally designed to treat muscle spasms. However, in treating facial spasms, it was discovered that Botox could also be used to decrease facial wrinkling. Botulinum toxin injections reduce scowl lines caused by squinting, frowning, or concentrating, reducing the prominence of the scowl lines. In addition, Botulinum toxin can be used to lessen crows' feet, bunny lines, marionette lines and smoker's lines. Botox treatment can also be used to correct facial asymmetry.

Botox is also very successful at reducing excessive localised sweating  (hyperhidrosis), especially in the armpits, and reducing pain associated with Shingles.


Tiny quantities of the Botox are injected directly into the affected muscles. There is very little pain involved where it is used to lessen facial wrinkles. However, Botox injections to reduce sweating -- which are typically administered in the armpit area or even hands -- can be quite painful. Local anesthetic may be used. The effects of Botox generally wear off within a few weeks, but further injections are unnecessary for three to six months.

Side Effects

Side effects of Botulinum toxin may include minor headaches and possibly slight bruising at the site of injection. Injection into the palms, however, can cause muscle weakness and result in temporary clumsiness. In rare instances, sides effects may include ptosis, or a drooping of the eyelid muscle, which typically only lasts a few days and can be treated with iopidine or aproclonidin.

Notes of Precaution

* If you are pregnant or breast feeding, Botulinum toxin injections should be avoided.

* Patients with certain neurological conditions shouldn't use Botox.

* Notify your doctor if you use Aminoglycoside antibiotics, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine, or if you use blood-thinning agents, such as aspirin.

* Injections are not always successful. However, retreatment is cautioned against for at least two months.

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