BOTOX® Substitutes Causing Facial Paralysis

altWARNING! Some doctors are using fake BOTOX® treatments and misrepresenting the product as the real thing. As of July 2008, there have been 68 individuals arrested and 29 who have been convicted of intentionally injecting fake Botox injections. There are no other brands besides Botox that has been approved by the FDA, as a non-surgical procedure to treat frown lines. Don\'t fall for the fake stuff. Do your research first!

Botox cosmetics treatments are simple ten-minute nonsurgical procedures, administered by a physician, to smooth frown lines or forehead wrinkles in patients from 18 to 65 years of ag, preferably done in a sterile office environment. The procedure involves a few tiny injections of Botox applied to the brow area that temporarily impairs the muscles for an average duration of four months, helping to reduce the visibility of creases or lines in the skin. Botox treatments are the most common nonsurgical form of cosmetic treatments.

The Office of Criminal Investigation (OCI) began researching a situation that involved four people who became paralyzed after receiving what they thought at the time were Botox injections, at a medical clinic in Oakland, Florida in November 2004. Thank goodness their paralysis was only temporary after being injected with very potent, unapproved botulinum toxin presented as Botox to the patients by the doctors. The investigation has evolved to investigations across the United States. The investigation has determined at least 1,000 patients received injections that were presented as Botox, but were actually cheaper non-approved substitutes.

Fake Botox that was used in the Florida cases were traced back to a California lab where toxins were sold that were to only be used for research and not in humans for wrinkle treatment. Investigators found more of the research product at Toxin Research International, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona. They were selling the toxin to health care professionals as a cheaper treatment option to Botox. Vials and marketing information was obtained by the OCI and the vials were labeled \"For Research Only, Not for Human Use.\" These physicians were taking the risk of paralyzing patients to increase their profits by purchasing the cheaper vials and presenting them as Botox, and charging Botox prices.

Ask questions before you receive Botox treatments. Some of the tactics that were used by the physicians and clinics misrepresenting the fake products to patients were:

  • Botox cosmetic advertisements in print versions and on websites stating they specialized in treating facial wrinkles.
  • Fake certificates indicating Botox cosmetic training.
  • Misinforming patients that they would be receiving Botox treatments.
  • Not telling patients they would be receiving an unapproved drug for human use.
  • Requesting patients sign a form that states they will be receiving Botox injections.

Botox TIPS:

  • Botox should only be administered by a trained and qualified health care professional. Ask for credentials, and check into the doctor and clinic for further information if needed.
  • Make sure you know what you are being injected with. Ask your physician for information on the product they will use during the procedure. Make sure the product is FDA approved and purchased in the U.S. There are no excuses, they should provide you with this information and if they don\'t, find another physician.
  • Make sure you understand the benefits and risks. Discuss any questions with the physician.
  • Disclose ALL medical conditions and any medication you are currently taking, even if it is over the counter.
  • It is best to only have Botox injections administered in a sterile environment with sterile equipment.
  • Avoid malls and homes for Botox treatment. While it may be fun and more comfortable, it may also be dangerous.
  • Only receive treatments from a certified physician or a non-physician who is properly certified, trained and under the supervision of a licensed physician.
  • No Botox treatments if you are pregnant or may be pregnant, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients of Botox, have an infection around the area to be treated, breast feeding, or have a disease that affects the muscles or nerves.

Botox is a very popular cosmetic treatment with more than 2.7 million procedures performed in 2007 alone. As with almost all treatments there are always risks and side effect possibilities. Based on the recently released information on fake Botox treatments, you may want to investigate the facility, physicia,n and products to be used during the procedure, before having the actual injections. Ask questions and don\'t take no for an answer!