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Botox® was the first drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat frown lines. It is the number one in non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Two years ago, Dysport® was approved with great widespread acceptance. Most recently, Xeomin® -which had been initially approved to treat cervical dystonia and blepharospasm-, has also been approved for cosmetic treatment. Like the two first drugs in this category, Xeomin® works by relaxing the muscles that causes wrinkles. It blocks the signals from the nerves to the muscles, and as a result, the targeted muscles cannot contract.

Xeomin® versus Botox® and Dysport®

Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin® have a lot in common, but they also have some differences. Unlike its predecessors, Xeomin® does not need to be refrigerated. This may be an advantage when it comes to distribution. Botox® and Dysport® main molecule is surrounded by a protein coating. However, Xeomin® is "naked", meaning there is no protein coating. The main reason for this “naked” product is to avoid the production of antibodies against the active ingredient, which helps when higher doses are needed, like in neurologic spastic disorders. Nevertheless, with the minimal doses used for facial cosmetic rejuvenation, this is not a major concern. In addition the protein coating present in the Botox® and Dysport® products helps them to keep the active drug in the site where it is intended to act; this way it doesn’t spread to other areas, and cause undesirable effects.

Xeomin® is said to be more like Botox® than Dysport®; it takes about one to two weeks for the full effects to be noticeable, and the results last about 3 months. To its advantage, Dysport® effects are seen sooner than the ones from Botox®, and they tend to last longer. Also, Dysport® has not been associated with tension headaches reported by some patients. In addition, Dysport® does not produce the sting-burning sensation of the Botox® solution.

Dangers of At-Home Botox®

When it comes to Botox® and its competitors, most people forget that these are highly potent drugs that relax muscle tissues. People fail to realize that even though these are not considered surgical procedures, they are still medical treatments. If any of these drugs is injected into the wrong area of the face, or administered in the incorrect dosage, the patient could end up with undesired results, such as drooping eyelids, abnormal facial anatomy, or loss of sensitivity.

Although many of At-Home Botox® kits come with instructions and a map of the face where injections are meant to go, the process is so precise that it can easily be done wrong. Also, while some kits claim to be Botox®, many are counterfeit brands, leaving the consumer with an unknown product. Further, there is always the chance that a product has been stored improperly or labeled incorrectly; thus, patients have no idea if it’s real or safe.

What about Botox® Parties?

Lately, there has been a growing trend of people having Botox® or Dysport® injections done by a professional in their own home. Botox® parties have become extremely popular, with people inviting friends over for a social gathering where they all get Botox® treatments. Be aware of prices, if they seem "too good to be true." As much as 20% of Botox is counterfeit and illegally bought over the internet.

These are medical procedures that should be administered in a controlled, clean, and professional environment like a doctor’s office or a hospital. Needles are not to be shared under any circumstances, and they should always be disposed of in special sharp containers. Gloves and gauze covered with blood should be disposed of in biohazard bags. These measures are important in order to minimize blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.

Dysport®, Xeomin® and Botox® should not be used interchangeably; they are considered safe as long as they are administered by skilled injectors, such as board-certified and trained clinicians with a medical license, in sterile environments such as a doctor's office. Botox® should not be injected in beauty salons, shopping malls, or in at-home Botox® parties. If you are interested in Botox®, or Dysport® injections, consult with a board-certified clinician with extensive experience to explore your candidacy.

Sacrificing Quality over Convenience?

Botox® is a cosmetic treatment not to be taken lightly, and yet many people choose to get at-home injections by unqualified individuals. Anyone who is serious about getting rid of unwanted wrinkles on their foreheads, and around their eyes, should have this procedure performed by a medical provider, who has the skills and permission to administer Botox® treatments. Considering all the risks and complications that can occur with “do-it-yourself Botox®”, it might be worth giving up time and money to have it professionally done. If cost is a major factor, you can discuss your budget at your complimentary medical consultation, and take advantage of promotions, rebates and financing plans.

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