What is BOTOX?
BOTOX is a drug formulation made from the Botulinum toxin.  Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.  Pure, undiluted preparations of this toxin causes the clinical syndrome of botulism, but in small doses the toxin is used to treat muscle spasms and wrinkles.  The toxin binds to nerve endings on muscles and prevents them from transmitting their signal causing muscle paralysis.  In a therapeutic setting, a small amount of pure botulinum toxin is diluted with saline to create BOTOX.

What is BOTOX used for?
In the United States the FDA has approved the use of BOTOX for axillary hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) and reduction of wrinkles on the face.  Not all muscle spasm disorders are FDA approved for treatment with BOTOX, however acceptance is growing.  Please see Botulinum toxin for a full list of uses for BOTOX.

What are side effects of BOTOX?
BOTOX injections in the facial area may lead to asymmetry if precise technique is not applied.  Patients will notice a clinical effect in 1-3 days and maximal effect in 1-2 weeks.  Some diffusion of the toxin occurs and if placed too close to certain facial muscles it can cause facial or eyelid droop.  There is also potential for swelling and bruising around the sites of injection.  Results last 3-6 months and then resolve.