You may have tried to delay the aging process by taking good care of your health, exercising regularly, and eating healthily. But often that’s just not enough to stop the signs of aging – wrinkles in particular – from staking a claim on your face. Some people have turned to popular treatments, such as Botox injections, to help erase those wrinkles. But at what cost? A recent petition put forth by The Public Citizen Health Research Group indicates that Botox may be fatal. Keep reading for the lowdown on this potentially harmful anti-aging option . . .Is a wrinkle-free face worth the risk?
According to a petition put forth by The Public Citizen Health Research Group, 16 people have died after receiving injections of Botox. The Botox injection is often used as a popular cosmetic treatment and consists of the toxin botulinum. This toxin spread to other parts of the 16 individuals’ bodies and caused the deaths.
The Public Citizen group cited these deaths in a petition which asked the FDA to put a “black box” warning on the packaging of Botox and other medications related to Botox. A black box is the strongest type of warning that the FDA can put on a product without actually taking it off the market.
Allergan’s Botox and Solstice Neuroscience’s Myobloc are included in the injections that contain the botulinum toxin. Both of these have been approved in treating cervical dystonia, which is a health condition that can lead to rigid or spastic neck muscles. However, Botox is most famous for its ability to smooth out the wrinkles in your face.What is botulinum toxin?
Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin protein that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Interestingly, it is the most poisonous “naturally occurring” substance in the world. It is also one of the most toxic proteins.
Even though it is so toxic, it still continues to be used to treat painful muscle spasms and as a cosmetic treatment for wrinkles. It works by blocking nerve impulses from reaching the muscles. This then causes them to relax.
What are the side effects?
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble swallowing
- Aspiration pneumonia
The Public Citizen group reviewed 180 reports of side effects that were reported to the FDA. It’s estimated that at least 87 people have been hospitalized, and 16 died because of the spread of toxin that went beyond the injection site. Four of the 16 were children.
Many times people are naïve enough to take whatever is prescribed to them without questioning the side effects or risks involved. It has been documented in the past that Botox can be harmful, but the Public Citizen Health Research Group advises that stronger warnings need to be put on the packaging and more public awareness campaigns need to be raised to inform consumers of the dangers of Botox and other types of medicines with this toxin.
According to the Public Citizen Health Research Group, the “FDA needs to highlight the risk with a black box warning and require doctors to hand out an easy-to-understand guide to patients before administering the injections.”
The Public Citizen group fears that if the danger of Botox and other medicines containing botulinum is not addressed and taken seriously, there will be more fatalities. "These significantly improved warnings to doctors and patients would increase the likelihood of earlier medical intervention when symptoms of adverse reactions to botulinum toxin first appear, and could prevent more serious complications, including death."
Although this toxin can be helpful in certain medical conditions, people are not just using it for that purpose. More and more are using Botox, which contains this toxin, in the name of vanity. Is the price you might pay -- your life -- really worth erasing a few wrinkles?