What is Botox and Dysport?

Botox and Dysport are the trade names for Botulinum toxin Type A. This is an FDA approved drug used to treat dynamic wrinkles or wrinkles with movement. Botox has been used for over 20 years to treat some aspects of facial spasm (blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm) and crossed eyes. It was approved in 2001 for the treatment of wrinkles. It is especially useful for treating wrinkles of the forehead and the area between the brows. It can also be used to treat crow’s feet, “lipstick” lines as well as platysmal or neck bands.

Dysport received FDA approval in 2009 for the treatment of glabellar wrinkles (the furrows between the brows). It has the same mechanism of action as Botox. Its effects may both take place and wear off a bit more quickly than Botox.

Botox or Dysport is injected directly into the muscles. Botox or Dysport weakens or partially paralyzes the muscles so that the muscle’s ability to squeeze is diminished. As a result, wrinkles are softer or eliminated. The medication lasts 3-4 months and can be repeated when the effect wears off.

There are no known systemic side effects of these drugs in the doses that are typically used for medical and cosmetic indications. On occasion, one may develop a droopy eyelid if the Botox or Dysport is injected too closely to the eyelid. If necessary, this can be treated with eye drops.

In general, Botox and Dysport treatments have proven to be extremely effective methods of reducing dynamic wrinkles that result from habitual facial expressions. They are not effective treatments for wrinkles at rest, deep folds or wrinkles that are the result of severe skin damage due to sun exposure.

The doses used for Botox and Dysport are quite different and not interchangeable. It is important that care be taken to provide the appropriate dose when using these medications.