Botox/Dysport: Have We Finally Found the Fountain of Youth?

Throughout time, man has sought the fountain of youth, an elixir that would prolong our youth forever. So far, that magic potion has not been found. Still, Botox comes close to solving many of the problems associated with aging. New uses for Botox arise all the time. Like many medications, the cosmetic use for Botox was discovered accidentally. Used to treat wayward eye muscles, doctors noticed that, when Botox strayed into the muscles that caused frown lines between the eyes, these frown lines improved dramatically. From there, it was just a matter of time before Botox was used to treat other facial lines as well. This created an explosion in demand for this miracle product. In addition to treating facial lines and wrinkles, Botox can also be used to treat banding of the muscles of the neck which can produce a “turkey neck.” It can also be used to eliminate sweating in the armpits. Other uses are continuing to be found for Botox all the time. Botox is a protein removed from the bacteria Clostridia Botulinum. It works by interrupting the delivery of messages from the brain to the target muscle. Without being told to contract by the brain, the muscle simply relaxes, allowing lines and wrinkles to soften or even disappear. The effect generally lasts for three to six months and then wears off. Afterwards, the chain of communication between brain and muscle is restored with no lasting effects from the Botox. Although it may take a couple of days after injection to take effect, the nice thing about Botox is that there is no recovery period. Patients can resume normal activities immediately. Also, potential side effects and complications are generally rare and mild in nature. Botox was the original product used as an injectable wrinkle remover. Because of its popularity, many companies have been scrambling to get their version of Botox on the market. The first competitor to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration was Dysport, a product that has been used for a long time in Europe and thus had many studies already in place for the FDA’s review. Dysport was approved for use in this country in 2009. While both products work essentially the same way, Dysport tends to act faster, hurt less with injection, and cost less per treatment overall. Many patients also report that the effects of Dysport last longer than with Botox. The magic fountain of youth still eludes us but, with Botox/Dysport, the ravages of time on our skin may be delayed, at least, for the short term.

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