Botox is a big brand name. Everyone knows about Botox, and most of the notoriety comes from word-of-mouth communication, not paid advertising. In fact, since the FDA approved it to treat facial wrinkles in 2002, Botox injection sessions have been the most popular cosmetic procedure every year.
But you don’t know everything about Botox. It was, and continues to evolve, into a heavily used neuromodulator beyond the aesthetic/wrinkle-reducing uses you’ve heard about or know of firsthand. Since Botox is popular with Dr. Malamet’s patients, we thought you’d maybe be interested in some other facts about the world’s most popular aesthetic injectable.
The origins of Botox
Most people know that Botox is based on a bacterium that can kill you, the bacteria that can cause botulism. That would be the clostridium botulinum, the organism from which Botox is derived. Interestingly enough, clostridium botulinum can be found in its inactive form all through the natural environment, including in cultivated soil and forest soil, and in the sediment of lakes, streams, coastal and untreated waters. That must be why your Mom always told you to stop eating dirt when you were a tyke.
While Botox first hit the aesthetic industry in 2002, it was no stranger to the medical world long before that. Botox has been used medicinally for decades. Way back in the 1950s, scientists discovered that the botulinum toxin type A, when injected in very small amounts, could make muscles temporarily stop contracting. Once they knew that, Botox was tested for a variety of different uses where the goal was to stop a muscle from contracting. These cases are far broader than you would imagine. Look at these therapeutic applications where Botox is now used:
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Blepharospasm (involuntary eyelid spasms)
- Idiopathic rotational cervical dystonia (severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms)
- Urinary incontinence
- Overactive bladder
- Chronic migraine headaches
- Severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Post-stroke upper limb spasticity
- Hemifacial spasm.
It is also used “off-label,” meaning it hasn’t been approved by the FDA for these uses, but doctors try Botox when other methods don’t seem to work. In many cases, after some time, the FDA will get on board, look at the accumulated data, and approve a new use. These are current off-label uses of Botox:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Achalasia (esophageal problems creating difficulty swallowing)
- Sialorrhea (hypersalivation)
- Hepatopancreatic dysfunction
- Cerebral palsy
- Laryngeal dystonia (forceful contraction of the vocal cords)
- Oromandibular dystonia (forceful contraction of the jaw, face, and tongue)
More about Botox
More than six million Botox treatments are given each year, far and away the most of any cosmetic procedure of any type.
Although Botox is by far the most popular brand, the botulinum toxin is also sold commercially under these other brand names: Vistabel, Dysport, Bocouture, Xeomin, and Myobloc.
OK, now you’re equipped with enough info to drive up to Studio City and try to get on Jeopardy! But request only questions on Botox! Or, better yet, call Dr. Malamet at (818) 380-3130 and let’s do something about those crow’s feet of yours!