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The Many Faces of Botox

Botox, a deadly toxin, is also a powerful drug and a so-called fountain of youth. But could it also become a weapon?

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First, he gives a group lecture on the benefits and risks of Botox, after which all patients get a chance to ask questions and hear each other's. Then each person meets with him individually for further consultation, to sign a consent form, and if agreed upon, to get an injection. After the treatment, clients have the chance to mingle with the group while consuming refreshments.

"They have the benefit of a group setting in terms of a discount financially, and the more relaxed setting of a group, but they also have the benefit of an individual medical treatment that's private and confidential," says Greenberg.

Many health experts, however, have frowned upon Botox parties, fearing that the social atmosphere trivializes the risk associated with the procedure. According to a May 2002 news release issued by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), such affairs "have raised red flags for many medical professionals."

The concern apparently originated from media reports of some parties being held in beauty salons, spas, or people's homes, with the injections sometimes administered by untrained personnel.

"It's inappropriate, obviously, if you're not in a medical environment," says ASAPS spokesman Alan Gold, MD. "You can still have side effects, an allergic reaction, or a fainting episode."

Gold speculates, however, that the occurrence of these inappropriate gatherings may be slightly exaggerated and actually make up only a small percentage of the drug's use.

Nonetheless, the ASAPS recommends that anyone who undergoes Botox treatment makes sure that they can answer "Yes" to the following questions:

  • Have you been asked to provide a complete medical history?
  • Have you been advised on alternative treatments?
  • Have you been advised of the risks and given your informed consent?
  • Is a qualified physician administering the treatment?
  • Is the physical setting appropriate for administering medical treatment, including handling emergency situations?
  • Are you willing and able to follow posttreatment instructions?
  • Will you receive adequate follow-up care?

For more information on these recommendations, call the ASAPS referral line at (888) 272-7711, or visit the web site at www.surgery.org.

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