In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
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Side effects from therapeutic use can be much more varied depending on the location of injection and the dose of toxin injected. In general, side effects from therapeutic use can be more serious than those that arise during cosmetic use. These can arise from paralysis of critical muscle groups and can include arrhythmia, heart attack, and in some cases seizures, respiratory arrest, and death.[27] Additionally, side effects which are common in cosmetic use are also common in therapeutic use, including trouble swallowing, muscle weakness, allergic reactions, and flu-like syndromes.[27]
Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”
This medication can spread to other parts of the body after your injection, causing serious (possibly fatal) side effects. These can occur hours or even weeks after the injection. However, the chances of such serious side effects occurring when this medication is used for migraines or skin conditions such as wrinkles, eye spasm, or excessive sweating are extremely unlikely.

Migraine with visual aura involves visual effects that usually precede the headache and last at least 5 minutes. The visual aura is usually an expanding blinding spot or visual scintillations (shimmering objects in the visual field). Other aura features include reversible symptoms of speech and language difficulty such as word-finding problems and aphasia (inability to express words or comprehend words), sensory phenomena such as tingling in the extremities extending to the face, motor effects such as weakness, and brainstem problems such as unsteadiness and features of cranial nerve dysfunction. These aura symptoms usually last 5 to 60 minutes, can precede or start during the headache, and can also occur without a headache.
Botox takes three to five days to kick in, with the full effect becoming apparent within two weeks. Some people say they know when it’s taken effect because it suddenly feels like there’s duct tape on their forehead. “Botox will affect the way your facial muscles move, and it can feel funny when you can’t move your face to make a particular expression,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. “Also, sometimes injection of Botox in one area can affect another area—for example, injecting too low on the forehead to reduce wrinkles above the brows can actually end up lowering the brows, which is not always ideal. You may also experience a super-tight feeling in the beginning, before your body has time to adjust to the toxin.” These are the 50 things your surgeon won’t tell you.
Botox is a neurotoxin derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Ingested in contaminated food, it can interfere with key muscles in the body, causing paralysis and even death. But when injected in tiny doses into targeted areas, it can block signals between nerves and muscles, causing the muscles to relax. That's how it smooths wrinkles: when you immobilize the muscles that surround fine lines, those lines are less likely to move--making them less noticeable. It's also why it's FDA-approved to treat an overactive bladder: Botox can prevent involuntary muscle contractions that can cause people to feel like they have to pee even when they don't.
In cosmetic applications, botulinum toxin is considered safe and effective for reduction of facial wrinkles, especially in the uppermost third of the face.[23] Injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles under facial wrinkles causes relaxation of those muscles, resulting in the smoothing of the overlying skin.[23] Smoothing of wrinkles is usually visible three days after treatment and is maximally visible two weeks following injection.[23] The treated muscles gradually regain function, and generally return to their former appearance three to four months after treatment.[23] Muscles can be treated repeatedly to maintain the smoothed appearance.[23]
Now Allergan hopes to replicate the findings on a larger scale, and the company is currently running its own Phase 2 clinical trial. If its results are in line with Rosenthal and Finzi's, it would be huge, paving the way for Botox to obtain official approval for the drug as a depression treatment. That wouldn't change anything for doctors, of course--they can already prescribe it off-label, and some do, with great results--but it would allow Allergan to begin marketing Botox for depression, a change that could dramatically increase its adoption and sales.
The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s when it was discovered that BOTOX® could stop ailments such as blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using BOTOX® for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. BOTOX® is approved for treatment of frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and axillary hyperhidrosis (increased sweating of the armpits). Within the past few years, new products that have similar preparations have been introduced into the U.S. market and have been well-received by patients.
In general, you’ll find that Botox costs about $10-$20 per unit. While some offices and clinics charge a flat rate, depending on the area that they’re working on, you’ll more often find that you are charged based on how many units of Botox are used to achieve the results you’re looking for. You need around 20 units to treat your forehead and 5-6 units to treat crows feet, making Botox an affordable alternative to going under the knife.

Just like any medical procedure the Botox treatment rarely comes with a few possible side-effects that are temporary. The frequency of complications generally decreases the more knowledge of facial anatomy that your injector possesses and the greater the experience of knowing where and how much to inject.That is not to say that complications can occur in anyones hands but the incidence decreases with greater experience.Allergic reactions to Botox or Dysport is exceedingly rare in my experience.


Step therapy is largely unregulated both at the state and federal level, though individual states have started to pass legislation to limit step therapy and protect patients: 19 US states, including California, Mississippi, and Illinois, have laws that require insurance companies to grant certain exemptions or to review appeals from doctors within 72 hours so patients can get a waiver. But even then, getting a waiver isn’t always easy.
Temporary bruising is the most common side effect of Botox. Headaches, which resolve in 24-48 hours, can occur, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping. This usually resolves in three weeks. This usually happens when the Botox moves around so you shouldn't rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lay down for three to four hours.
As with all therapeutic proteins, there is a potential for immunogenicity. The detection of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody (including neutralizing antibo dy) positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to onabotulinumtoxinA in the studies described below with the incidence of antibodies in other studies or to other products may be misleading.
If you are seeking a Botox specialist, I have more than thirty years experience injecting Botox in New York City and New Jersey. I am a recognized oculoplastic surgeon – you can find me on Google as Dr. Joel E. Kopelman. I have authored several peer reviewed articles regarding the efficacy and safety of Botox injections. You can easily make an appointment to see me in consultation at our office +1 (212) 831-8333 to set up a consultation with me in either New York or New Jersey.

Autonomic dysreflexia in patients treated for overactive bladder due to neurologic disease. Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX® could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).

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