Botox Lawsuit: Physicians Respond
Physicians contacted by WebMD declined to comment directly on the lawsuit, but did comment on Botox use.
Cosmetic use of Botox is generally safe, while therapeutic or non-cosmetic use "requires caution," says John Reinisch, MD, director of craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, who has administered the drug for many years to children and adults for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.
"It is probably the most commonly used cosmetic product today," he says. "It is extremely effective and extremely safe."
That's not to say, he adds, that cosmetic use isn't sometimes accompanied by side effects, such as temporarily droopy eyelids.
Doses for cosmetic use are a fraction of those used for therapeutic uses such as neck pain, he tells WebMD. People considering Botox should seek out licensed practitioners who are skilled in using the drug for the specific purpose, he says.
Another physician, Alan Gold, MD, a plastic surgeon in Great Neck, N.Y., and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, agrees that cosmetic use is generally safe. "I think Botox over the last 20 years has had an incredible record of safety and efficacy, if used for cosmetic purposes in the ways prescribed."
Off-label use, he says, carries additional risk that consumers need to be aware of.
Botox: Government Concerns
The FDA announced in February its ongoing evaluation of reports of adverse reactions such as respiratory problems and death following the use of Botox and Myobloc for approved and unapproved uses. The review does not mean the FDA is advising physicians to discontinue use of the product or whether more regulatory action is needed, according to a statement on the FDA web site.