With this new mentality, came the urge to look better on the outside as well as feel healthier on the inside. With medical research on the rise for finding the "miracle" drug to turn back the effects of time, society has embraced the new nonsurgical procedures and benefits of Botulinum Toxin, or Botox.
With just a small injection you can make fine lines around the eyes, mouth, and forehead virtually disappear. With society becoming self conscious about looking good, Botox has become a prime candidate for a quick fix that is easily administered, and has very few side effects. However, caution should be taken as with any drug before running to the doctor for a dose of Botox.
History of Botox and how Botox works
Clostridium botulinum is the bacteria from which we get our abbreviated name Botox. A German physician and poet Justinus Kerner first recognized that this toxin could be a possible candidate in therapeutic applications, calling it "sausage poison." In 1870, Muller (another German physician) laid claim to the name botulism. Then in 1895 Emile Van Ermengem was the first to isolate the bacterium, and in 1944 Edward Schantz cultured Clostridium botulinum and isolated the toxin. And finally in 1949, Burgen's group discovered that botulinum toxin blocks neuromuscular transmission. Surprisingly in the 1950s the toxin was used experimentally as a medical cosmetic treatment on politicians, one of which was said to be the actor and one of our United States Presidents, Ronald Regan.
Botox is manufactured by Allergan Inc. in Irvine California, a global pharmaceutical company that specializes in neuromodulator, eye care, and skin care. According to Allergan Inc., it is a powerful poison created by a bacterium called clostridium botulinum. It is possibly the most toxic substance known with a lethal dose of about 100g that could kill every human on earth! The spores of this toxin occur in nature and can be found in practically all of the soil on earth. One wouldn't think that such a poison exists in nature and that it could be so dangerous. The disturbing part is that it is all around us all the time.
This toxin interferes with nerve impulses and weakens or paralyzes the nerves that can cause muscles to contract abnormally for about four to six months. Even though the results do not last years but months, they are so dramatic that it is worth the time and money to get the procedure done regularly. The botulinum toxin that is used in medical practices is purified so it won't cause botulism, which can occur if foods are not preserved or jarred properly and then consumed. According to "Vaccine Weekly," it has been found that the toxin can also be inhaled.
Experiments show that this is a possibility, and that a form of vaccine has been formed to aid in the prevention of such a case.
By 1973 Alan B Scott, MD, of Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute used botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) in experiments on monkeys, and in 1980 he officially used BTX-A for the first time in humans to treat strabismus. In December of 1989 BTX-A (BOTOX) was officially approved by the FDA and injections were given by an EMG (electromyogram), which locates the worst area of the contracting muscle and is the most precise way of administering the medicine.
The main disease that is treated by Botox is called dystonia. It is involuntary contraction of muscles and can occur in the neck, arms, legs, and face. It can occur by itself or from another neurological disorder, such as Parkinson's Disease. It can occur in only one group of muscles or all over the body.
Even though this disorder was discouraging to treat, Botox has made a fairly good solution. It is also used in cases involving spasticity or muscle tightness. When the brain is damaged by a stroke, head injury, multiple sclerosis, etc., the brain may lose the ability to control and relax the muscles.
Sometimes the worst thing about these types of neurological problems is the involuntary muscle tightness, which can be very painful, and which Botox can help relieve. Although most insurance companies won't pay for it, Botox can also alleviate headaches such as migraines. Kassel states "Blumenfeld's reported clinical experience adds to the growing evidence base supporting the clinical application of BoNT-A in a variety of headache types including migraines." Back pain, neck pain, and excessive sweating have also been treated successfully with Botox without any side effects.
The newest and most popular use of Botox is in the cosmetic industry. It is said to be the fastest growing cosmetic procedure in the industry, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Even though Botox works for only two to five months, results are apparent within 24 to 48 hours, but must be repeated regularly. It is used to improve mild to severe frown lines by temporarily paralyzing the muscle so it won't move.
One procedure could cost anywhere from one hundred to four hundred dollars. It has also been found to be the best treatment for "frown" wrinkles of the brow between the eye brows, and the "crow's feet" beside the eyes which many women are concerned about. But men also are starting to have the same concerns and are getting the procedure done. Studies have shown that the effects of Botox in males are not as significant as in females.
In a scientific study by Allergan Inc., thirty days after the procedure, females showed an 84.7% improvement in frown lines where as in males the improvement was only 59.2%. The severity of the lines prior to treatment also has a large effect on the results achieved. Despite these results, men can also benefit from this cosmetic correction drug.
The growing popularity with Botox has brought on an even bigger fad called "Botox Parties." These "parties" are organized by practitioners whom buy the product in bulk and arrange get-togethers for clients receiving these treatments. This method was found to be less expensive for the patients.
As in any business, volume comes with discounts in medicine also. The way these "parties" work are very simple. A group of patients are invited and mingle in a waiting area with some refreshments. One by one, they are called into a private exam room. He or she pays a fee and signs an informed consent agreement, and fifteen minutes later they are back at the party.
Only about one tenth of a teaspoon is used for a typical procedure and anesthetics are rarely needed but readily available. These parties are usually by invitation only. Even though this sounds wonderful, you must be sure a qualified doctor is performing the procedure and that they are trained and qualified in cosmetic face surgery. You must also avoid alcohol and remain upright for a few hours after the procedure is done.
The main concern the FDA has is that Botox has the potential to be abused. "But we're going to see some strange aesthetic outcomes when these procedures are performed by physicians who haven't done them before," says Dr. Richard G. Glogau of UCLA Department of Epidemiology: School of Public Health. ASAPS has recently discovered that treatments have been dispensed in salons, gyms, hotel rooms, home-based offices, and other retail venues which could result in misuse, inappropriate dosages, unsanitary conditions, and can run the risk of improper technique.
With all of the hype about Botox and all of its different uses, it surely is an impressive drug for cosmetic purposes. Although there is no chance of contracting botulism, there are a few risks with the procedure. It is important to remember to go check with your doctor before getting Botox. As with any good thing, there is a down side to the procedure.
If someone has a history of peripheral motor neuropathic diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and neuromuscular junctional disorders such as Lambert-Eaton syndrome, then the patient should not get the procedure done according to studies done by Allergan Inc. As stated by the scientists at Allergan Inc. "There has been a case report where a patient developed aspiration pneumonia and died subsequently to the finding of dysphagia."
Therefore, it is important to take caution with new procedures. In normal cases, the safe use of Botox Cosmetic depends greatly on how the drug is stored, selection of a correct dose, and proper techniques. The physician must be familiar with the neuromuscular anatomy and/or the orbital anatomy of the area being treated before the procedure as per Allergan Inc.
There have been cases of patients suffering severe dysphagia and respiratory problems with typical sized doses of Botox Cosmetic. If the wrong muscles are treated, a person could have droopy eyelids for several weeks before they return to normal. Some other common side effects include headaches, nausea, flu type symptoms, double vision, and respiratory infection. Less frequent effects include pain, redness, and muscle weakness.
After analyzing FDA data on Botox from 1997 to 2006, Public Citizen, Ralph Nadar's watchdog group, found that 180 patients developed life-threatening conditions after being injected with Botox, with 16 deaths and 87 hospitalizations. Four of the deaths occurred in children under 18. Additionally, 658 cases of patients having adverse effects to Botox were reported. Because these reports were voluntary and came from the makers of Botox, they are estimated to account for only 10 percent of all cases.
Even thought the results do not last forever and the risk could be life-threatening, people are still willing to go through the procedures over and again just to accomplish the look of fewer wrinkles.
At the end of the day, it becomes a matter of deciding whether you want to put your life on the line for something that could be accomplished naturally with proper diet.
Related Articles Death by Botox? The Hidden Toll of the Quest for Beauty - With 16 recorded deaths from this popular form of plastic surgery, Public Citizen is calling on the FDA to put a "black box" warning on the Botox label.