Botox History 101

Before we delve into the benefits of botulinm toxin type A. A little bit of history into the medicine will do no one harm and its logical to introduce a topic by talking about its history first. Ever since the dawn of man, to be exact 2600 BC, he has been searching for the fountain of youth… got-ya! I promise to keep this simple and concise. But first let me introduce the person who has kindly offered her knowledge as an aide in our search for the fountain of youth. Chellie Braddock-Hazzlewood who is not only an expert in the subject but is so passionate about its benefits, & her passion is contagious. However, she is fair and always looks at the other side of the coin, telling us there are pros & cons with any medicine. I thought she is the best person to source for this blog and she promised to give me something really short and sweet. Just like a miniskirt, short and sweet and covers the essentials.

So botulinum toxin type A was first discovered through people getting food poisoning with botulism. In the right environmental conditions botulinum toxin ferments and can get into the food chain. Initially, the first products in the market were Occulinum and Dysport and they were generically called Botox. However, Allergan the maker of Occulinum cleverly trademarked the name Botox and turned it into their brand name. Nowadays, people commonly say they are getting Botox even though they might be receiving another brand of Botulinum Toxin such as Dysport. We will explain the differences between the different brands in our next blog.

When the drug was first introduced for non-cosmetic use, during its investigation stage, researchers learned that there was muscle relaxing activity caused by the botulinum toxin type A when injected directly into a muscle. The clever scientists theorized that the muscle relaxing side effect could be used for therapeutic purposes such as improving blepharospasm (a continuous spasm around the eye) and as a side-effect from that they noticed people’s wrinkles improved. Hallelujah! It was then botulinum toxin for wrinkle reduction was born!

However, in the early days there was so much Antibody formation leading to complete therapy failure with Botox that Allergan had to re-formulate in 1998. They reduced the protein from 20ng per vial to 5ng, therefore reducing the risk Antibody formation. Around this time this was a big deal, there was lots of concern and literature published on this. It was even stated in the literature that the perfect product would be one with the least amount of protein & highest specific activity. High-protein loads in medicine are well understood to increase the risk of immune reactions. In more recent times we have learned that the complexing proteins serve no purpose for the therapeutic muscle relaxing activity, as muscles are not acidic so when the toxin complex is injected those accessory proteins break apart. They just add to the total foreign protein load introduced to the body/immune system.

So by 2005, German pharmaceutical company MERZ had came up with a new way to formulate Botox but with additional purification processes to remove the additional & unnecessary proteins. By doing this they were creating the most pure product with the least immune irritating response and unexpectedly made it more stable for transport and storage not requiring Refrigeration like the older products did.

So today we have three toxin products available which all work to temporarily paralyse muscles in the same way. The first generation products are Botox from Allergan, Dysport from Ipsen, and the next generation is Xeomin – free from complexing proteins, from MERZ in Germany. There is talk that Johnson and Johnson are also bringing a product purtox another purified toxin product to market. However if this happens it will be many years away from being available in New Zealand.

The botulinm toxins we have at Dentspa are Xeomin (the most pure product) and Dysport. In consultation with the patient, Drs Sama & Eman will determine the most suitable medicine to use to treat your area of concern. We will talk more about the differences between them in our later blogs. We hope you have enjoyed reading our short talk about history of Botox and you are always welcome to come in for consultation to discuss any concern.