In the case of Botox, doctors who experiment off-label say they do so because they're looking for better treatment options for their patients. "In my 30 years of medical practice, Botox is one of the most impactful treatments I had ever seen," says Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, who independently studied Botox for overactive bladder before the FDA approved it for that condition in 2013.
Proper refrigeration at temperatures below 3 °C (38 °F) retards the growth of Clostridium botulinum. The organism is also susceptible to high salt, high oxygen, and low pH levels. The toxin itself is rapidly destroyed by heat, such as in thorough cooking. The spores that produce the toxin are heat-tolerant and will survive boiling water for an extended period of time.
Deaths as a complication of severe dysphagia have been reported after treatment with botulinum toxin. Dysphagia may persist f or several months, and require use of a feeding tube to maintain adequate nutrition and hydration. Aspiration may result from severe dysphagia and is a particular risk when treating patients in whom swallowing or respiratory function is already compromised.
It will not affect the nerves that cause sensation, or make you feel numb. When it is used correctly, it can lift the brow to give an appealing and sincere look. "But if too much is injected in the danger zone—the horizontal lines in the forehead—you can look Spocked, as in Spock from Star Trek," says Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver eye surgeon who, with her husband, Alastair, coauthored the first paper on the cosmetic benefits of Botox in 1989. That's why it's important to be treated by an experienced doctor who can judge the size of your muscles and how much Botox you will need.
Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. Patients can wear makeup immediately but should avoid heavy workouts for 24 hours, says Carruthers.
Now, thanks in large part to off-label use, Botox--the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph--is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal's patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug's unique characteristics as much as the drug industry's unique strategies for creating a blockbuster.