Is Botox Safe?

With FDA approval as a solution to facial lines, wrinkles and creases, Botox has earned trusted endorsement as a safe treatment.

The active ingredient, botulinum toxin type A, must of course be applied by an experienced and accredited dermatologist specializing in Botox and injectibles, for proper injection placement and proper measurements of doses, and your doctor will also conduct a very detailed intake questionnaire to be sure that you are a good and healthy candidate with no pre-existing conditions that could make any medication use risky.

For instance, and this is just a small sample of the health questions you will be asked during your initial consultation, your doctor will need your full disclosure about your medical history related to the following:

  • Your age. Botox Cosmetic is approved and safety-tested for patients between the ages of 18 and 65 primarily. Botox for cosmetic solutions is not recommended for anyone under age 18.
  • Your pregnancy status. Botox is not for you if you are or may be pregnant, and if you are breast-feeding.
  • Your diagnosis of muscle or nerve conditions. If you suffer from such diseases as ALS [Lou Gehrig’s disease], myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, Botox is not for you.
  • Your allergic reactions. If you have ever had an allergic reactions to any ingredients in Botox or botulinum toxin products such as Myobloc or Dysport, your doctor may decide the risk to your health is just too great.
  • Your breathing issues. Botox should be avoided if you have asthma or emphysema.
  • Additional conditions, such as bleeding disorders, swallowing problems, weakness of your facial muscles, drooping eyelids, and other facial conditions, or a urinary tract infection.
  • Your recent or planned surgeries.
  • All of your prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin and herbal medications.
  • If you have received antibiotics by injection, take muscle relaxants or a sleep medication, or are on cold or allergy medication
  • Whether or not you or on an aspirin regiment, which thins the blood and can pose bleeding problems during and after treatment.
  • Whether or not you have previously had Botox or botulinum treatments in the past four months.
  • And more,  which you’ll cover with your physician via a detailed questionnaire or interview. Your doctor’s top concern is your safety, and with any introduction of a medication into a patient’s system, all possible interactions and complications need to be assessed and avoided.

Reactions to Botox

As with any medication, it’s vitally important that familiarize yourself with any dangerous side effects that, in their worst form, can potentially be life-threatening. If you experience any of the following after your Botox treatments, call your doctor or get medical help immediately:

  • Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, due to weakening of associated muscles, which can be severe and life-threatening.
  • Spread of toxin effects. If you experience loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, or trouble swallowing, the effects of the botulinum toxin may have spread and affected areas away from the injection site. Seek medical help immediately.

Talk with your doctors about what you can expect from standard Botox side effects, such as pain at the injection site, headache, and other benign conditions, so that you can be your best health advocate in knowing which side effects to expect and prepare for – such as applying ice packs – and which signal a worrisome onset of a more dangerous side effect.

It’s recommended that you avoid consumption of alcohol at least a week before your treatment, and stop using aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications at least two weeks prior to your Botox treatment (with your prescribing doctor’s consent, of course.)

Most importantly, never be shy or afraid to contact your doctor about your side effects. Physicians would rather have proactive, cautious patients who trust them with their questions, and your qualified, Botox-experienced dermatologist will be happy to address your concerns, even after hours via their emergency contact services.

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