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What are the risks of Botox?

The potential risks of Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) include allergic reaction, headache, bruising (if injections occur while you are taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications or if you've had alcohol within the previous week), redness and numbness at the injection site. An allergic reaction can cause itching, rash, wheezing, dizziness or faintness.

There is a slight risk of paralysis of nerves adjacent to the injection site. If you are pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition, make sure you discuss the possible risks with your doctor. Botox is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.

Other potential side effects include swelling, pain from the injection, bruising and redness where the needle was inserted. More serious but rare side effects can occur if toxin spreads from the injection site, including loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids. However, there have been no serious, confirmed cases of toxin spread when Botox is used as recommended to treat frown lines.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Botox treatments should not be injected more frequently than once every three months, and the lowest effective dose should be used. 
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
The serious side effects of Botox Cosmetics include: problems with breathing, swallowing due to weakened muscles, double vision, blurred vision, hoarseness, dysphonia, and drooping eyelids. Other side effects include: itching, rash, wheezing, asthma symptoms, and dizziness. 
Susan Evans
Dermatology
Although Botox has so many positive benefits, both cosmetically and medically, there are also risks associated with it. Botulinum toxin in very large doses can cause botulism, which is a rare and paralyzing illness that most commonly stems from food poisoning. There are cases where a Botox procedure has gone bad because the toxic component was too high or the drug was administered incorrectly. It is very important that only a trained medical doctor, such as a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, handle your Botox injections. It is equally important to use a certified brand such as Botox and not an unknown form of the toxin that may not meet the same quality standards.

The main cause of concern is the repeated exposure to Botox. The effects of Botox last several weeks but then require repeated treatment in order for the results to continue. As your muscles begin to get trained from the Botox injections, the recurrence of the condition lessens. However, some people become aesthetically addicted to Botox and end up repeating the treatments so often that their faces actually become frozen in appearance. Since the repeated use of Botox does limit your facial animation, it is important to understand the consequences of repeated use of this treatment. This is especially true of actors or anyone who relies on facial expressions for their livelihood.

There are other possible side effects from Botox such as bruising at the injection site, headache, indigestion, and nausea. However, if you are looking to treat a specific condition and you don’t abuse the Botox treatment by overusing it, you may find relief from various cosmetic and medical conditions. Your doctor can help you determine if Botox is a viable option for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.