What is BOTOX and What is its Origin?

You may have heard Botox mentioned on the news, but you may remain confused precisely about what Botox is and why people might receive a Botox treatment. Furthermore, you may know very little about the history of Botox.

What is Botox?

Botox is a neurotoxic protein that can occur naturally in some foods and wound or intestinal infections. It is a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. It naturally occurs in many places, including soil, lakes, forests, and intestinal tracts.

How the Bacteria Works?

This bacterium stops neurotransmitters located at nerve fiber endings from sending signals to the brain, resulting in partial paralysis. It is the same bacteria that causes botulism. Uncontrolled, it would take less than 1 gram of the crystalline form to kill 1 million people, and less than 2 kilograms could kill every person on earth. Yet, the amount needed to be harmful is much larger than the amount used in medical procedures.

Are There Different Types of Botox?

Scientists currently recognize seven types of Botox, and scientists find new types occasionally. Of those, doctors use types A and B in medical treatments. Many different companies make these drugs. You may hear type A Botox called Jeuveau, Botox, and Xeomin while type B is usually marketed as Myobloc.

The drug works by preventing particular muscles from being able to stretch. Botox stops chemical messengers, called acetylcholine, at the point where muscle cells and nerve endings meet from being able to send messages.

How Fast Does Botox Work?

Qualified people like Stephanie Paswaters, DDS at Emerald Dental, use the toxin in minimal amounts. They use a sterile needle to inject it directly into neuromuscular tissue. The result usually takes 12-to-72 hours to work. Depending on the exact treatment, it can take up to five days. Again, depending on the treatment, effects can last from 3-to-12 months.

While the injection of Botox is the most common cosmetic procedure done in the U.S. today, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved it as a possible treatment for several medical conditions, including:

  • Upper limb spasticity
  • Crossed eyes
  • Severe underarm sweating
  • Preventing migraines
  • Overactive bladder
  • Eyelid spasms
  • Head and neck pain

What is the History of Botox?

Justinus Kerner first came up with the idea of using botulism, which he called sausage poisoning, to treat other medical conditions in the 1820s. He is the first to describe botulism in writing accurately. In addition to being a medical doctor, he was a poet who predicted that sausage poisoning might help treat other medical conditions.

From Sausage Poisoning to Spoiled Ham

On December 14, 1895, 80 musicians had dinner together after they played at a funeral. Those who ate the served ham experienced stomach problems, blurred vision, speech difficulties, and some had paralysis. Those who did not eat the ham seemed fine. The leading doctor on bacteria at the time was Émile Pierre-Marie van Ermengem from the University of Ghent. After careful examination, he discovered the same bacteria on the ham and in small slits, he cut on the sick men. He called the bacteria Bacillus botulinus, but it has been since renamed.

Botox as a Military Weapon

During World War II, military scientists experimented with using Botulinum toxin in chemical warfare. Many experts thought that the Germans had access to a large batch of this toxin, but that turned out to be a myth. Allied forces experimented with its possible use at Porton Down facilities in England and Camp Detrick in the United States.

Botox for Eye Diseases

While the government gave many in academia a sample of the toxin to experiment with, scientists made very few discoveries until ophthalmologist Alan Scott discovered that the poison could be used to treat cross-eyes in monkeys. After receiving permission from the Food and Drug Administration, he conducted the first human clinical trial in 1977.

Botox for Cosmetics

Doctor Jean Carruthers was one of the first to discover the use of Botox for cosmetic reasons, and she did it accidentally in 1987. She was treating a woman for blepharospasm, which is an uncontrollable blinking and spasming of the eye. The woman mentioned that once she got her annual treatment performed, she had the most serene look on her face for several months.

Yet, the eye doctor who shared an office with her medical doctor husband said it took doctors many years before they would accept Botox as a treatment for crow’s feet and other facial blemishes. Other doctors called the couple crazy when they presented their findings at a medical conference in October 1991.

Where is Botox Made?

Allergan won approval to manufacture Botox in 1989. While most drugs are patented, and that patent eventually expires, allowing others to produce a similar drug, Allergan filed a recipe with the government instead. The advantage of doing this is that a recipe never expires. Therefore, all Botox is made in their factory. Other companies do make a similar product.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has been very slow in approving the use of Botox, although many doctors administer Botox off-label using their best clinical judgment.

Meet Dr. Stephanie Paswaters

Dr. Stephanie Paswaters did most of her undergraduate work at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Before finishing at the University of Colorado. She then went on to earn her degree in dental surgery from the Colorado School of Dentistry. She began practicing in Lakewood in 1995 and has owned Emerald Dental since 1999.

For more information about Botox treatments or to schedule a consultation appointment, call our office at (720) 682-2269.

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