Botox injections are a popular form of cosmetic treatment that is used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and also to reduce sweating. Traditionally, people get Botox injections in the face to stop expression lines and wrinkles, but they are also sometimes used in the armpits, the scalp and under the breast, to get rid of sweat patches.
Botox injections use the botulinum toxin. This is a neurotoxin that kills off nerve endings, thereby relaxing facial muscles and stopping sweat glands from activating. You may have heard of this toxin before in other contexts. It is a poison that grows in anaerobic conditions, and in the past, it has been found in canned food and led to fatal food poisoning. Injections must be given by a trained professional and aimed at a specific site, to ensure safety.
Questioning Botox Injections Safety
The botulinum toxin is life-threatening if it is taken in large amounts, but when it comes to Botox injections safety is the number one concern, and the kinds of very small doses that are used in cosmetic applications are widely considered safe. Indeed, the FDA keeps records of adverse effects associated with medications, and only 36 cases of adverse effects were reported relating to this kind of cosmetic procedure between 1989 and 2003. Out of all of those cases, 13 ware thought to relate to an underlying condition, rather than to the drug specifically.
There are some therapeutic uses, and when it comes to those kinds of Botox injections safety is still something that is taken seriously. The risks are slightly greater because the doses are higher, but there are still generally considered to be no major potential issues.
The only thing that the FDA warns is that people are more likely to experience unwanted side effects if they get injections that were not prepared to meet FDA standards, or if the person who performs the actual injection is not properly trained.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding then you should avoid Botox, because of the risk of some of it contaminating breast milk or harming the unborn baby.
Questions surrounding Botox injections safety have started to make headlines as sales of the drug increase. While the main thing that gets talked about is treating crow’s feet and wrinkles, there are treatments for twitches, ticks and other persistent medical issues that rely on the same substance.
Doctors believe that it is quite a harmless compound when it is used properly, but there are some caveats. In 2009, the FDA added safety warnings to their notes surrounding the drug, noting that it might spread from the injection site, causing symptoms of botulism. People who experience this might notice muscle weakness, and even difficulty breathing. The thing that makes it hard to know for sure where these symptoms come from is that the symptoms can sometimes occur within hours after the injection, but in other cases, they may take weeks.
Another recent study, which was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, raised some fresh doubts about how safe it is to have injections. The researchers performed animal tests which showed that the toxin can actually move between nerve cells. The question is whether that same type of migration can happen in humans.
The FDA originally approved Botulinum Toxin Type A as a treatment for muscle spasms, eyelid tics, and underarm sweating. The amounts used to treat such conditions are larger than the amounts used for cosmetic procedures. Even prior to 2002, when cosmetic use was officially approved, it was something that was still happening on an off-label basis. Use of the treatment has soared over the last 15 years, and the safety record has, overall, been very good.
In spite of the concerns raised by the University of Wisconsin, most people are quite happy with the idea of Botox procedures. It is thought that even though there is the possibility for the compound to move between nerve cells, it moves only in small amounts, and it is not likely to result in complications as it travels from the target area. This means that someone who gets a treatment in order to get rid of crow’s feet is not likely to experience any issues breathing.
Complications do sometimes happen, but they are localized. For example, said crow’s feet injection could end up spreading to cause eyelid drooping since the eyelids are so close to the injection site. The fact that there is any mention of migration at all means that the study warrants some additional research. The question that it raises is how much migration can happen, and whether it is dangerous enough to worry about.
If you are considering getting therapeutic or even cosmetic treatments in the near future, there is no need to be concerned about this study. None of the alternatives to Botox are as effective, and it is important to understand that even if someone did experience some minor but unwanted side effects, the effects are temporary. Usually, a treatment lasts for about six months, maximum, before the injection is flushed out of the body. This means that you have plenty of time to enjoy the results, but if you do experience something unwanted it will eventually go away.
It’s natural to be scared of the idea of injecting yourself with a toxin, but there are a huge number of procedures carried out every day and complications are incredibly rare. For some, getting this kind of drug can be a lifeline. For example, people who suffer from migraines may find that the injections can offer relief where no other therapy has so far. Since the results can last for a long time, it frees them from their migraines and allows them to enjoy the feeling of living a normal life for a time, without having to risk the side effects or addictive effects of certain oral medications. Don’t fear that which you do not understand. Look at the numbers, and see how low risk it truly is.