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A dermatologist’s view of Botox

Posted Oct 17 2008 6:10pm 1 Comment

After I wrote last week’s post about Botox, I wanted to get a doctor’s opinion, so I turned to Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, a dermatologist in San Diego who writes a fantastic blog called The Derm Blog.  His take:

“Botox® has taken a beating lately. First the FDA said it’s investigating Botox safety issues, and now an Italian study shows that Botox might get into your brain. So is Botox dangerous?

How Botox works is a little complicated — I wish Jolie taught pharmacology at my med school; Susan and Larry are a lot simpler and more interesting than synaptosomal-associated protein.

When Botox is injected into the skin, it is taken up by the nerves and blocks the release of neurotransmitters, shutting off those nerves. When you try to contact a muscle (or even smile in some cases) the muscle never gets the signal, so it doesn’t move.

So what about Botox in your brain?

Results from the Italian study found that Botox injected into the rats could flow backwards up the nerve from the skin to the brain.

What does this mean?

The study was done in rats, not people. We do not know if Botox would do the same thing in humans. Even if some Botox did get into our brains, there is no evidence that it has any meaningful effect, good or bad. Also, there is no evidence that it causes or increases the risk for any brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Botox can be an amazing treatment for people with brain conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Botox is a wonderful and powerful drug. In treating wrinkles, there are few treatments that can compare to its results. It is, however, a drug with side effects and risks. We probably don’t know yet what all the risks are and will certainly we be hearing more about this topic. The good news is that bloggers like Jolie will help you make informed choices.”

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