Celebrity / NYJSM Consult / Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams consults Dr. Vasey and NYJSM.com

November 12, 2009

Matthew Vasey, MD





"It's no secret that I receive BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments to reduce the appearance of the two frown lines between my brows that look like an '11' and give me a tired or stressed appearance. For me, putting my best face forward means helping other women express their own success, professionally and personally. Dr. Vasey, would you explain the potential side effects and review the safety information for BOTOX® Cosmetic to your readers?

Join our efforts by pledging your support online. Allergan will donate $2 to Dress for Success on behalf of the first 25,000 people who register on the campaign Web site, www.expresssuccesscampaign.com. In addition, to find a licensed and trained physician in your area visit www.BotoxCosmetic.com."


Of course Ms. Williams, BOTOX® Cosmetic or what is medically referred to as Botulinum Toxin Type A really reflects an incredible understanding of physiology by modern medicine. There are seven types of botulinum, A, B, C, D, E, F and G, very creatively named. Clostridium botulinum is a particular bacterium that produces the neurotoxin "botulin" subsequently purified and used in botox. This botulin in other context has been referred to as one of the most poisonous of poisons due to its effects of paralysis, yet amazingly when used appropriately can have a wide spectrum of beneficial medical effects across multiple subspecialties.

Wrinkles or frown lines for the purposes of this "consult" are due to contracted or flexed muscles stimulated by nerves. BOTOX® Cosmetic very precisely affects the signaling system from nerve to muscle preventing contraction of the muscle by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from performing its function at this neuromuscular or nerve-to-muscle junction, imagine a lava lamp type effect if you will used by nerves and muscles to communicate with acetylcholine being the "lava". Therefore the muscle is reliably and for a practical duration, relaxed. This mechanism of therapy and type of medicine is used in many medical subspecialties for a range of disease entities with a similar mechanism of unwanted nerve signaling and/or muscle contraction.

As with all medicines, there are sometimes unwanted effects but no where near the norm. If you take the time to read the rest of this "consult" you will see how nearly all side effects are the result of altered acetylcholine function depending where and how much. If you are considering therapy with this medicine, it behooves you to review all of the documented safety information on your own, as well as with your doctor before moving forward with this treatment. If the product injected isn't what it is supposed to be, all bets are off. If you have any concerns about authenticity of provider or product, contact the manufacturer and ensure a licensed and approved physician will be injecting you.

Side effects are generally minimal, temporary, and typically relate to the local injection. Soreness or mild bruising, while uncommon, may occur around the injection site. Makeup may be applied after the treatment, but care should be taken to avoid pressing or massaging the area for several hours. A temporary headache is not uncommon after injections in the forehead area, especially after the first treatment. In rare instances, patients may develop weakness of the neighboring muscles leading to a temporary droopy brow or eyelid. All of these possible effects are mild, reversible, and self-limiting.

BOTOX® Cosmetic may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these problems after treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic: Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing. These problems can happen hours to weeks after an injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic usually because the muscles that you use to breathe and swallow can become weak after the injection. Death can happen as a complication if you have severe problems with swallowing or breathing after treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic.

Swallowing problems may last for several months. People who already have swallowing or breathing problems before receiving BOTOX® Cosmetic have the highest risk of getting these problems. Spread of toxin effects. In some cases, the effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas of the body away from the injection site and cause symptoms of a serious condition called botulism. The symptoms of botulism include: loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice (dysphonia), trouble saying words clearly (dysarthria), loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing. These symptoms can happen hours to weeks after you receive an injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic. These problems could make it unsafe for you to drive a car or do other dangerous activities. See "What should I avoid while receiving BOTOX® Cosmetic" in Medication Guide. There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, or strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have: a disease that affects your muscles and nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease], myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome). Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products. BOTOX® Cosmetic can cause serious side effects. Other side effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, and eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of your eyelids, and dry eyes. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to BOTOX® Cosmetic may include: itching, rash, red itchy welts, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you are wheezing or have asthma symptoms, or if you become dizzy or faint.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. For additional information refer to Medication Guide. This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about BOTOX® Cosmetic. If you would like more information, talk with your doctor. Please refer to BOTOX® Cosmetic full Product Information and Medication Guide available at www.BOTOXCosmetic.com.

Product Information: Click to view

Medication Guide: Click to view

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