1040 GMT February 19, 2019
However, these days it is widely used for cosmetic purposes as it can alleviate wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles.
Botox injection has been identified as the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure for treating wrinkles. Botox injection, however, can cause alarming side effects if not conducted properly.
Many kinds of drugs available in the market under different commercial names are either unapproved or non-standard. Many injections are reportedly done by untrained people, which can put the health of receivers at great risk.
Iran Daily conducted an interview with Dr. Somayyeh Baqizadeh, the deputy head of Iranian Headache Association, to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of Botox injection.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: What is Botox? How does it work?
BAQIZADEH: Botox, also called 'botulinum toxin type A', is made from the bacteria that cause botulism. Consumption of conserved foods that contain the toxin can cause death or paralysis. Although the toxin can be used to treat a range of problems including severe migraines and wrinkles, it can even lead to death if injected in the wrong place.
The toxin, if injected improperly, can spread to the entire body and cause death.
How does Botox injection relieve pain?
Botox can be used for controlling chronic pains that occur without known reasons. America's Food and Drug Organization (FDA) has approved the effectiveness of Botox's effectiveness in relieving pains caused by migraine.
However, its efficacy in treating acute headaches — periodic headaches with low frequency — has not yet been proved. Those who suffer from migraine and cannot take medicines — for any reason — are recommended to inject Botox.
It is unknown how Botox treats migraine but medical experts have witnessed that periodically injection of the chemical reduces pain in those complaining of migraine.
Please explain the use of the toxin for cosmetic purposes.
The toxin has been used for improving appearance by reducing wrinkles that appear on the face by moving certain muscles too much — like when you frown too much.
Botox relaxes the muscles for a period of time — maximum three months — which eventually leads to removal of wrinkles.
People have to receive injections several times to see the full benefits, though.
What type of nervous system disorders can be treated by botulinum toxin? What are the side effects of an injection in the wrong place?
Post-stroke muscle spasticity can be treated by botulinum toxin. After receiving an injection, which smoothes the muscles, patients can begin rehabilitation.
Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) suffering from stiff muscles can also benefit from the injection.
The drug can be used for relaxing the muscles of those complaining of dystonia and face and neck spasticity.
Botulinum toxin can affect voice or lead to difficulty in swallowing, if it is injected in the wrong location in the neck.
The chemical can cause paralysis in legs if it is injected more than the recommended dosage.
Botulinum toxin is available in the market under different brand names. Which of them have been approved?
Botulinum toxin is imported South Korea, China and the UK. Among all brands currently available, two have been approved by Iran's Health Ministry namely Dysport and Noronex. The other types that are mainly from China are not safe.
What are the side effects of a non-standard injection used for cosmetic purposes?
Botulinum toxin is sold in different dosages under different brand names. The dosage and site of injection depends on a range of factors including the reason for injection and the brand name.
The drug must target exactly the right area, otherwise it can lead to the paralysis of wrong facial muscles.
Headaches, bruising, pain at the site of injection, and drooping eyelids or eyebrows are among side effects.