How safe is Botox? Allergan, the manufacturer says it's hot!

In 1987, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, of Vancouver, B.C. noticed frown lines on his young assistant, Cathy Bickerton Swann and experimented with injecting a neurotoxin to help those lines.  The substance worked and Swain's lines disappeared.  And Botox was here to stay.

Botox is derived from the poison manufactured by the bacteria, Clostridium, a bacteria so deadly that infected people usually die from the toxins.  One form of Clostridium infection is called Botulism.

Movie stars have been using Botox for years.  Of course in Hollywood, lack of glamour is considered tantamount to death so many stars are not afraid to take a risk.

But Botox is threatening to become mainstream.  Recently it was approved by the FDA for "TEMPORARY RELIEF" of wrinkles, thus giving the manufacturer, Allergan, free reign for publicity.

And in the article on MSNBC, Allergan, which says Botox is its best selling drug, plans to kick off a 50 million dollar ad campaign.

The MSNBC article gave us the history and the uses of Botox, suggesting it was highly successful in most people. (The Botox execs at Allergan to the left, DO appear to have that happy "going to the bank" look on their faces!)   I looked for side effects.  I found one sentence about this:

The article mentioned that your "kissing muscles" can be affected and you can get droopy eyelids but of course, re-assures the article, any "screwups" disappear in a couple of months.

Botox is a deadly poison and reading the information on Allergan, we find that the usual dose given to a human being, will kill a rat.  I realize that the rat is a lot smaller but would we take small doses of Arsenic?  One way of murdering a human being shown in the movies is to administer small doses of arsenic over a length of time.

The big question I had was wouldn't Botox go systemic?  Well, yes, it can, says Allergan and any muscles it touches can be damaged (it kills the nerve in the muscle effectually killing the muscle).  Like small muscles in the heart, like muscles in the lungs. And yes, there have been cases of respiratory arrest associated with Botox.

Is Botox safe for pregnant women?  No, according to Allergan.  In pregnant rats and rabbits, it caused small fetal size, deformity and death.  So it evidentally goes systemic enough to get down to the baby. 

A smaller side effect of botox is that it can paralyze your swallowing muscles. In some cases, states Allergan, this paralysis was serious enough to require the insertion of a feeding tube!

The 'good effects' of Botox only last a couple of months.  Some Botox users learn to inject themselves so they can do it when they need it, according to an article in "Self Magazine" which describes a very pleased lady who uses Botox to prevent to stop her perfuse perspiration.

So what else can Botox do? According to Allergan it rises the risk for bronchitis and can even cause a heart attack.  Does it go into the bloodstream?  Well, on my Progesterone Cream, it mentions the face as one of the best places to apply it to make sure it goes into my system.

Trust me, the publicity campaign from Allergan which will 'disguise' itself as 'informational articles' in the press, will never tell us the darker side of Botox.  The long term side effects i.e. what repeated administrations of Botox can do, will only be seen in years to come.

No wonder the VP of Allergan is smiling so broadly.  This drug has a rather great potential to develop a large customer base.

Perhaps one factor which should give us caution about using Botox is that the original Botox girl, Cathy Bickerton Swann no longer uses it.  And if it were so great, why did she stop using it?  She claims that she's 45 now and had a lifestyle change, in other words, she chooses to 'look old' instead of using the 'wonder drug' she first used in 1987!   One suspects that her lifestyle change may have been a medical problem due to Botox but I'm sure she's been paid handsomely to keep quiet about it.

Sources for this article:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/botox1.htm

Allegan prescribing information

http://www.botox.com/index.jsp?hp&prescribing-cosmetic

Adverse side effects from Botox?

Adverse events following use of BOTOX® COSMETIC should be reported to the Medical Affairs Division, Allergan Pharmaceuticals (1-800-433-8871). Adverse events may also be reported to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Adverse Event Reporting System. Report forms and reporting requirement information can be obtained from Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) through a toll free number 1-800-822-7967.

An antitoxin is available in the event of immediate knowledge of an overdose or mis-injection. In the event of an overdose or injection into the wrong muscle, immediately contact Allergan for additional information at (800) 433-8871 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, or at (714) 246-5954 for a recorded message at other times. The antitoxin will not reverse any botulinum toxin induced muscle weakness effects already apparent by the time of antitoxin administration.

article by Sue Widemark co 2003, all rights reserved

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