Botox treatment was first approved by the FDA in the late 1980s for blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye) but in April 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows - called glabellar lines.
Botox is often used for other areas of the face as well – forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines. He/she blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles and when it is injected, the muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften.
Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism and one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis but if it is used in small, diluted amounts, it can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.
It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect and it is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior to treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.
The effects will last four to six months because as muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to re-appear and wrinkles need to be re-treated. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax.
The most common side effect is temporary bruising, headaches can occur which resolve in 24-48 hours, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping which usually resolves in three weeks.
It is usually caused by migration of the Botox and for this reason; the person shouldn't rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lay down for three to four hours. There have been no allergies associated with Botox to date.
Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a neurological disease should not use Botox. Since Botox doesn't work for all wrinkles, a consultation with a doctor is recommended. For example, wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox.