Tactical SD

Health News

Nationwide Outbreak: Fake Botox Sparks Health Concerns

Fake Botox Sparks Health Concerns | Credits: FDA

United States: Public health authorities caution that spurious versions of the injectable are circulating — and have already afflicted patients — in numerous US states.

Nineteen individuals have reported adverse reactions to botulinum toxin injections as of last Friday, with nine requiring hospitalization, according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These incidents have been documented in nine states: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Washington.

All of the affected individuals identify as female, ranging in age from 25 to 59. Nearly all reported undergoing the injections for cosmetic reasons. Furthermore, they all received treatment from either untrained individuals or in non-healthcare environments such as residences and spas, according to npr.org.

“These occurrences have arisen when counterfeit Botox has been administered by licensed and unlicensed individuals and/or in non-medical or unlicensed environments,” cautioned the US Food and Drug Administration in a notice to healthcare practitioners and consumers.

Symptoms included blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, constipation, incontinence, shortness of breath, weakness, and difficulty raising one’s head post-injection — akin to those observed in cases of botulism, a rare and potentially lethal ailment that affects the nervous system, according to the FDA.

Nationwide, four individuals were treated for botulism due to concerns that the toxin had disseminated beyond the injection site, as per the CDC. Five individuals were tested for the illness, all with negative outcomes.

The CDC, FDA, and numerous state and local health departments are collaborating to pinpoint the origins of counterfeit products. The FDA indicated that these substances seem to have been procured from unlicensed sources, suggesting they may be “misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective and/or unsafe,” as mentioned by npr.org.

The FDA stressed that there is presently no evidence linking these incidents to the brand-name Botox produced by the pharmaceutical company AbbVie (which is one of several FDA-approved brands of the neurotoxin, including Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau, and Daxxify).

“The authentic product should be regarded as safe and effective for its intended and approved uses,” the FDA affirmed.

Nevertheless, public health officials advise individuals contemplating Botox treatment to ensure they receive authentic products — a process that experts inform NPR, commences with selecting a reputable provider.

Dr. Seemal Desai, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, emphasized the imperative for patients to be discerning in their choice of Botox provider, as with any medical procedure.

Visual Representation for fake botox | Credits: Getty Images

“There are 19 patients too many who have experienced an adverse event,” he remarked. “I trust that this situation will prompt efforts to educate the public on advocating for themselves, thus avoiding such issues by reaching out to the appropriate professional.”

Choose a provider with the requisite credentials

Botox injections should exclusively be administered in a medical setting by a board-certified dermatologist, or another adequately trained practitioner under the supervision of one, according to Desai.

This is owing to their extensive training, which equips them to mitigate certain risks — such as being cognizant of the location of the forehead artery — and manage potential complications should they arise. Furthermore, in adherence to FDA directives, they procure the product directly from the manufacturer, substantially minimizing the risk of encountering counterfeits, npr.org mentioned.

“Don’t simply select a provider based on a TikTok video or a Groupon deal or from a cursory Google search where someone happens to be the top result,” Desai advised. “Conduct a more thorough investigation.”

However, this need not be time-consuming: He recommends utilizing the American Academy of Dermatology’s online search tool to locate a board-certified dermatologist within one’s area code.

There are other methods to vet a provider, regardless of whether they specialize in dermatology.

Dr. Gregory Greco, former president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, asserts that anyone administering injections must possess a valid license in the state where the procedure is performed.

Moreover, he notes that patients in most states have the means to conduct a cursory investigation — whether through the health department, consumer affairs agency, or licensing boards — to verify said license. Additionally, he asserts that most pharmaceutical companies that supply licensed healthcare providers will list their names on their website, allowing patients to cross-reference this information.

Responsible providers prioritize patient safety, from adhering to rigorous sterilization protocols to administering injections in a manner that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination, Greco informed NPR.

“When substances are being introduced into your body, you owe it to yourself and your safety to ensure that you’re entrusting a qualified individual,” he emphasized.

Exercise caution regarding the product

Greco suggests that patients can request to inspect their doctors’ cabinets and refrigerators where the product is stored, as reported by npr.org.

Visual Representation for botox products

This could prove especially beneficial in the case of counterfeit Botox, which the FDA asserts may involve falsification of the outer carton and vial. The agency has delineated certain indicators of counterfeit products (and urges consumers to report suspected counterfeits):

– The lot number is C3709C3

– The outer carton lists the active ingredient as “Botulinum Toxin Type A” instead of “OnabotulinumtoxinA.”

– The outer carton features language other than English

– The outer carton and vial are labeled as 150-unit doses (which is not a quantity manufactured by AbbVie)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *