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The New Botox

Is there really a cheaper, safer anti-wrinkle treatment in a syringe? Botox may have to confront a new, potential competitor.

After exploding onto the cosmetic treatment market in 2002, it was on the lips of every woman: a ‘miracle’ non-surgical treatment that could leave you looking younger within days. Suddenly doctors found themselves inundated with Botox followers requesting the injections.

Seven years and billions of dollars in profits later, Botox bosses might have something to be concerned about. Reloxin. Currently awaiting Food and Administration (FDA) approval in the United States, the treatment is already up and running in more than 60 countries under the name Dysport.

FASTER FOR LONGER

Reloxin contains Botlulinum Toxin A, the same key ingredient found in Botox. As with Botox, Reloxin temporarily paralyses the facial muscles to smooth out any unwanted wrinkles. But a number of studies have shown Reloxin to work faster as well as last longer than Botox.

According to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief Medical Editor, ‘Reloxin will act in one to two days instead of the three to five days Botox needs to kick in. Clinical trials suggest injections may be effective for up to five or six months as opposed to about three months for Botox.’

Research does, however, seem to differentiate from study to study, with some trial patients only seeing results after seven days and others experiencing post-injection results as long-lasting as 13 months.

EFFECTS ON THE SIDE

The side effects experienced following Reloxin treatment are similar to those experienced after Botox injections. According to one of the latest studies, published in the March/April edition of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, users may experience headaches and drooping eyelids or eyebrows. But when compared to the adverse effects of Botox there’s really not much difference between the two treatments, if anything, Botox appears to have more, including nausea and facial pain.

This could be one of the main reasons women are so eager to try the ‘new Botox’.

According to Chicago-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Otto Joseph Placik, one must be wary that Reloxin ‘spreads’. He refers to a recent study in which it was demonstrated how Reloxin spreads further than Botox: ‘This is both an advantage and disadvantage. In large muscles such as the forehead, you want the toxin to spread whereas in small muscles [such as around the eyes] you do not want it to spread because it could affect neighbouring muscles unfavourably.’

Unless administered properly around the eye area, Reloxin could lead to that dreaded droopiness. But it looks as though the larger the area you have treated, the less you have to worry about the possible, negative side effects.

BIG SPENDER?

Given the current global economic recession, we’ve all become aware of what things cost and what they’re worth. Reloxin is said to be one-third cheaper than Botox – so if one Botox treatment costs between R800 and R2 000, a move to Reloxin could save you between R250 and R650 respectively.

Botox has held the monopoly in facial aesthetics for six years leaving no room for healthy competition, but now the more economical Reloxin may force the makers of Botox to lower their prices to compete.

Although Reloxin (or Dysport) has been used successfully by women across the world for years, whether it’s considered to be a better or worse product is yet to be seen. If the FDA approves the use of Reloxin in the United States, it might completely revolutionise the cosmetic treatment market as we know it.

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