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Botox: Fast Facts

  1. Although doctors and research scientists have used Botox for years, the Food and Drug Administration didn't approve it for cosmetic purposes until 2002. Learn more about the history of Botox.
  1. Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin A. Learn about the Botox link to botulism.
  1. When a person eats something containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, he or she can contract a form of food poisoning known as botulism. Learn more about botulism.
  1. Botulinum toxin A is one of the neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum, which explains the Botox link to botulism. Learn more about botulinum toxin A.
  1. One of the most serious effects of botulism is paralysis. Botulinum toxins attach themselves to nerve endings and prevent the body from releasing the neurotransmitter that allows muscles to contract. Learn more about the effects of botulism.
  1. Certain proteins, VAMP, syntaxin and SNAP-25, enable the release of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that lets your muscles contract. Specific botulinum toxins attack these proteins. Botulinum toxin A (Botox) attacks SNAP-25, paralyzing muscles. Learn more about botulinum toxins.
  1. It may seem ridiculous that anyone would want to inject a botulinum toxin into his or her body, but the appeal of Botox is simple: If a muscle cannot move, it cannot wrinkle, either. Learn more about the effects of botulinum toxins on muscles.
  1. Botox is an effective treatment for certain medical conditions such as blepharospasm, strabismus and cervical dystonia, all of which involve involuntary muscle spasms. Learn more about the uses of Botox.
  1. After the botulinum toxin is injected into the muscle, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for spasms and contractions to be reduced or eliminated. Learn more about how botulinum toxin works.
  1. The effects of Botox are not permanent -- they typically last from three to eight months. Learn more about Botox treatments.
  1. When used for cosmetic purposes, Botox is most effective in treating frown lines and wrinkles in the brow area. Learn more about the cosmetic uses of Botox.
  1. Other possible uses for Botox that are still being investigated include the treatment of spasmodic dystonia, a neurological disorder affecting the muscles of the larynx, and hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Learn more about other uses of Botox.
  1. There is a risk of adverse reactions and side effects with Botox, so injections should always be performed in a controlled medical environment. Learn more about the potential side effects of Botox.
  1. Drinking alcohol near the time of a Botox treatment can increase bruising and swelling around the injection site. Learn more about Botox safety.

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