Botulinum Toxin A Injections
What is Botulinum toxin A?
Botulinum toxin A is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When extracts from the toxin are injected into certain types of muscle, the signalling system between the nerve and muscle becomes inactivated, thereby preventing contraction of the muscle. It has many therapeutic applications and has been used within mainstream medicine for several decades for uncontrolled spasms of the muscles (dystonia) including the eyelids (blepharospasm). It is also used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), bruxism (teeth grinding) and certain types of headache.
Injection of much smaller doses into some of the muscles responsible for causing wrinkles can reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles and reduce progression and deepening of wrinkles with repeated administration. It can also be used to “lift” areas of the face and neck, which may have dropped over time.
What to expect following injection?
There may be some mild swelling for a day or so, occasionally with a small amount of localised discolouration and a pin prick-like mark at the injection site. There may be a mild, dull ache around the treated area for the following 1-2 days; onset of the effect occurs several days post-injection and may take up to 10 days to achieve the full result. Further top-up injections can be administered at this time, if required.
On average the effect lasts approximately 3 months, although many who have received injections over a number of years find that they require repeat injections less frequently.
Possible unwanted effects:
- Bruising at the injection site
- Drooping of the eyelid
- Double vision
- Antibody production
- Cold sores (if susceptible)
You should not receive botulinum toxin injections in the following circumstances:
- Pregnancy, Breast feeding
- Concurrent antibiotic treatment
- Known allergy to botulinum toxin or egg products