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      Botox injections involve the application of a cosmetic form of the botulinum toxin injected into facial regions. This cosmetic procedure addresses the appearance of frown lines, crow's feet at the corner of the eyes, and forehead and neck creases. The effects of a Botox injection are temporary, as they temporarily paralyze the facial muscles that cause the appearance of wrinkles. Non-cosmetic uses of Botox injections are becoming more common. They are increasingly being employed to address migraine headaches, excessive perspiration, and muscle spasms in the neck and eyes.

What is Botox?
      Botox is a cosmetic form of the Botulinum Toxin. Botulinum Toxin Type A is a neurotoxin that acts to prevent the release of acetylcholine, a chemical neurotransmitter present at neuromuscular junctions in both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the central nervous system (CNS). Botulinum Toxin Type A is a protein complex produced by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. The bacteria is a toxin that can render people ill from food poisoning, however, the form used in medical treatments is a sterile, purified form of the toxin. Botox injections are the fastest growing type of cosmetic procedure.

Botox Treatment
      Botox used as a cosmetic procedure blocks the release from the nerve cells of the chemical neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The nerve cells blocked by Botox normally signal muscle contractions. Some paralysis results by preventing the underlying muscles of various parts of the face from contracting, thereby smoothing out lines. It is the contraction of the underlying facial muscles that result in the development of frown lines and wrinkles. For every woman, skin care is very important. To keep your skin looking young botox cosmetic is the wrinkle reducer for you.

History of Botox
      Medical uses for Botox have been around for years, but it was initially approved in 1989 by the FDA as a treatment for eye muscle disorders, including strabismus (misaligned eyes) and blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking). In 2000, it received FDA approval for the treatment of cervical dystonia - severe neck and shoulder contractions.
      A side effect of the treatment of eye muscle disorders using Botox was the softening of the frown lines between the eyebrows. This began the development of Botox treatments for cosmetic purposes. Many clinical studies and trials demonstrated ability of Botox to reduce or eliminate frown lines for up to 4 months. The FDA granted Allergen Inc., the manufacturers of Botox, approval for cosmetic uses of the toxin 2002.

Side Effects of Botox Treatment
      Botox use involves risks of side effects. Ensuring that your doctor is qualified and has experience with Botox use is one of the best ways to minimize risks. Obviously, 'botox parties' do not qualify. Proper Botox use involves very small quantities of the toxin being injected into the facial muscles. Too large an amount of the toxin being injected, or the injections being implemented into the wrong muscles or too many muscles can cause unwanted side effects.
      The most documented side effects of Botox include; flu like symptoms, headache, droopy eyelids, upset stomach, and a risk of developing botulism. Botulism is a potentially life threatening condition, and this risk is very small provided the correct amounts of Botox are applied to the appropriate facial muscles. The mere presence of such a risk, however, clearly demonstrates that Botox should never be considered a cosmetic, but instead be managed as the potentially dangerous drug.

Is Botox the right choice for you?
      Any use of Botox should be discussed with a patient's primary physician. Not only can one's primary physician assess a patient's suitability for Botox use with full knowledge of a patient's medical history, but a primary physician can also direct a patient to a qualified doctor with experience in administering Botox treatment in an appropriate medical setting. Certain individuals should not consider Botox. These include pregnant or breastfeeding women, and women who are considering becoming pregnant. Any individuals currrently taking antibiotics or who have preexisting health conditions related to nerve or muscle problems should discuss Botox use with their physicians prior to treatment.

Alternatives to Botox Treatment
      Some individuals prefer alternatives to Botox, for reasons including price, risks, and some immunity to Botox due to long term use. Alternatives typically include injectables or filling agents composed of fat, collagen, Fibril, and Gore-Tex. Other alternatives include a variety of other cosmetic surgeries, including forehead and mid-face lifts and skin resurfacing procedures such as microdermabrasion.
      A relatively new product, Artecoll, has been considered an alternative to Botox treatment. It is an injection composed of 25% plexiglas microbeads and 75% bovine collagen, and was approved by the US FDA in 2006 to treat nasolabial folds. It continues to be studied in the US. Speak with your primary physician about Botox and it's alternatives before seeking treatment. Only a qualified doctor with knowledge of a particular patient's medical history can effectively assess whether Botox treatment is safe.

The National Institutes of Health Medline Plus reports on FDA mandates for new warnings about Botox. (April, 2009) NIH reports on current Botox clinical trials.

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