Botox is a popular prescription medication that temporarily erases fine facial lines and wrinkles. Many people have received these injections at "Botox parties" in private homes or doctor's offices. While these events can be a fun way to eliminate the signs of ageing instantly, it is important to remember that Botox injections are medical treatments that are to be given by medical professionals.
Botox is a prescription medicine derived from botulinum toxin, the same substance that causes botulism, food poisoning. Botox Cosmetic is a form of the medicine specifically intended to treat facial wrinkles. When injected in the muscles between the eyebrows, they are paralysed and can't do the motions that result in the lines and wrinkles. The effects generally last up to four months.
Other forms of Botox may be used to treat facial muscle spasms, crossed eyes or severe underarm sweating.
Allergan Inc., the company that produces Botox, states that it should only be given by or under the direction of "a licensed and authorised health-care professional who is trained and qualified " to use Botox Cosmetic.
Many training courses are available, specifically for health-care professionals. Many are two-day events that cover the effects of ageing, determining whether Botox is the right treatment and hands-on injection training. The training is intended for dermatologists, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons, ophthalmologists and maxillofacial surgeons.
State health agencies regulate who can administer Botox and other medications. Requirements vary by state. In some states, physician's assistants and registered nurses may administer the injections, working under the guidance of a physician. In others, doing so may be illegal, and staff members may jeopardise their professional licenses, unknowingly or not. They may also be charged with unlawful practice of medicine.
In a statement, Allergan noted that while some physicians "may decide to employ supervised and authorised non-physician medical personnel to administer Botox Cosmetic, Allergan encourages physicians to satisfy consumer desires by personally assessing and treating their facial aesthetic patients."
Botox, as any other prescription medication, should be given with sterile medical equipment. The person giving the injection should wash her hands, wear gloves, dispose of the needle and any leftover serum properly, and follow all other standard health-care precautions. This is especially important for Botox parties in private homes, where conditions may not be as hygienic as in a medical office.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing, even several weeks after a Botox injection. These may be signs that the botulinum toxin has spread beyond the injection site.
Botox Cosmetic injections generally cost between £195 and £325, depending on geographic region. Most health insurance does not cover Botox Cosmetic injections for wrinkle removal, but may cover Botox use for other conditions.