Can I get botulism from onabotulinumtoxina injections?

Onabotulinumtoxina (Botox, Botox Cosmetic, Botulinum Toxin Type A) is an injected toxin solution derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The toxin blocks the transmission of nerve signals that supply muscles (neuromuscular blocking agent) causing the muscle to become less active. You may know it primarily for its cosmetic use to reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead, but it can also be used for a wide range of medical problems where muscle activity or spasticity is a component of the condition, including migraine prevention.

Although it is uncommon, the toxin can travel from the injection site to other parts of the body. This means that you can experience symptoms consistent with botulism similar to that caused by a bacterial infection with Clostridium botulinum. 

Symptoms of botulism include the following:
  • Muscle weakness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking or articulating words
  • Difficulty holding urine
  • Breathing problems
These symptoms can surface hours after the injections or weeks later and can last for several weeks. If you experience any of these symptoms after receiving onabotulinumtoxina injections, call your doctor immediately.

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