Can Botox End Up in Your Brain?

April 15, 2008 02:32 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
After being considered a perfectly safe drug for years, new research suggests Botox can travel along neurons and end up in the brain.

30-Second Summary

The new lab-animal study contradicts earlier findings that Botox, a cosmetic drug used to smooth and prevent wrinkles, is broken down into harmless compounds once injected and does not migrate—at least not far—beyond the injection site.

Italian researchers injected rats and mice with the botulinum neurotoxin used in Botox in doses comparable to those used in people who receive the drug.

In three days the toxin had migrated from the injection site—the whisker muscles—to the brainstem, where it disrupted neuronal activity, reports Newsweek.

The research could prove problematic for the now widely accepted drug, used by many to continually diminish the appearance of frown lines and other wrinkles.

Unlike the dangerous side effects linked to some cancer drugs or other life-saving drugs, Botox is primarily used for cosmetic purposes. If the recent findings are upheld, critics and regulators are thus likely to conclude that a cosmetic drug is not worth the risk of potentially life-threatening side effects.

The new research also may specifically explain some Botox-related medical cases, including that 16 children with cerebral palsy died recently after being given the drug to alleviate muscle spasms.

Headline Link: ‘A New Reason to Frown’

Background: Botox-related deaths and the drug’s medical uses

Related Topics: Risks of some lifesaving drugs deemed worth it

Reference: Botulism and Botox


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