The popular anti-wrinkle drug Botox, made by Allergan, and its competitor, Myobloc, manufactured by Solstice Neurosciences, have been linked to deaths and severe side effects suggestive of botulism, the U.S. government FDA warned this week.
Both Botox and Myobloc use botulinum toxin which blocks nerve impulses to muscles, which cause muscles to relax. Because the slackened muscles reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, Botox has become widely popular not only with those middle-aged and older trying to look younger but also, disturbingly, with younger customers in their 20's and 30's hoping to halt the onset of wrinkles.
The Food and Drug Administration, reported that the toxin may spread beyond the injection site to other parts of the body, resulting in such problems as paralysis of respiratory muscles and difficulty swallowing.
It's not only the FDA in the U.S. that has raised a red flag, Canada's Health Canada agency is already reviewing Botox's safety. Botox is currently approved in Canada to combat wrinkles and for treatment of muscle stiffness.
A Fact Sheet at the FDA website states that Botox side effects may include:
- Droopy eyelids, which can last for a few weeks
- Feeling like you have the flu
- Headache and upset stomach
- Risk of botulism (a life or death illness that makes it hard for a person to move the arms and legs or to breathe)
These latest warnings should serve as a wakeup call to those using Boxtox or contemplating starting Botox injections.