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A Modern-Day Wonder Drug? The History (and Future) of BOTOX®

Viles of BOTOX® Cosmetic

What does food poisoning have to do with crow’s feet and worry lines? Well, if it wasn’t for a German scientist linking a toxin in spoiled sausages to a rash of illnesses that occurred in the 1820s, we might not have BOTOX® Cosmetic today.

Today, people from Syracuse, NY to Syracuse, Sicily have likely heard of BOTOX, which for several years has been the most popular single cosmetic treatment in the world. That’s fairly impressive, when you consider that the FDA first approved BOTOX for use as a cosmetic treatment in 2002. It’s risen from clinical trials to a near-ubiquitous treatment in a little over a decade.

So, let’s trace the recent history of this phenomenal drug and then take a quick look ahead at conditions it may treat in the future.

  • In the 1950s, researchers discovered that injecting small amounts of Botulinum toxin type A — the type used in BOTOX — relaxed hyperactive muscles.
  • Ophthalmological studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s led to the FDA approving BOTOX for the treatment of crossed eyes, twitchy eyelids, and facial spasms in children younger than 12.
  • BOTOX received FDA approval in 2000 to treat painful neck spasms.
  • On April 15, 2002, the FDA approved BOTOX to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyes (sometimes called “the 11s”).
  • Two years later, in 2004, BOTOX® was approved to treat excessive underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis).

Within the last decade, regulators have also approved BOTOX for the treatment of chronic migraines and urinary incontinence, in addition to several other cosmetic uses. BOTOX is also approved to treat spasticity following a stroke, brain injury, or the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Looking ahead, what’s on the horizon for BOTOX? The biggest potential prospect: Allergan, the manufacturer of BOTOX, is actively studying the drug’s effectiveness in treating individuals diagnosed with depression.

With that kind of versatility, a treatment that made its name by reducing wrinkles truly qualifies as something of a “wonder drug.” To see what it can do for you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to explain the benefits more thoroughly in a consultation.


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