Recent Dr. Oz show highlights life-threatening consequences of counterfeit Botox
by Dr. Bryan Liang, VP of the Partnership for Safe Medicines
Recently I was on the Doctor Oz show, which highlighted the public health dangers of counterfeit Botox. The danger here is very real as counterfeit Botox has been growing. The number of counterfeits found are continuing to rise, with the FDA opening 20% more investigations over the past couple of years that include Botox. More recently, Chinese Botox fakes have been found with concentrations differing by 500% than stated on its label that use materials that may cause severe allergic reactions. Hence, the real scope of the problem is probably much worse.
If you are thinking of getting a Botox treatment, I recommend following the four simple rules below that were discussed on the show yesterday:
Be an informed consumer
Learn about what are safe sources for pharmaceuticals, and learn how to be skeptical of deals that seem "too good to be true". When it comes to medications, they probably are. You can learn more at the consumer section of our website.
Know who is performing your treatment
Plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and properly trained opthalmologists and otolaryngologists (ENT doctors) are the only ones who should be injecting Botox. It is possible to get certified to inject Botox without any medical training, but I don't recommend using these persons because they may lack training in the event of a medical emergency.
Know where the product comes from
First, if the price is too good to be true, walk away. Second, examine the bottle being used in your treatment. Ensure that it hasn't been used, isn't expired and that it's labeled "Allergan cosmetic Botox". Allergan publishes guidelines on identifying the real product on their website. Here is what they say to look for:
Vials of BOTOX® Cosmetic have a holographic film on the vial label that contains the name “Allergan” within horizontal lines of rainbow color. In order to see the hologram, rotate the vial back and forth between your fingers under a desk lamp or fluorescent light source. (Note: the holographic film on the label is absent in the date/batch area.) If you do not see the lines of rainbow color or the name “Allergan,” do not use the product and contact Allergan for additional information at 1-800-890-4345 from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM Pacific Time.
Know your facility
The safest place to receive a Botox treatment is in a physician's office. You should not receive a treatment in a spa or a private home. This is a medical procedure and should be done in a medical setting.
I want to thank Dr. Mehmet Oz and the whole staff of the show for highlighting drug safety for his viewers. Every year the dangers of fake medicines grows, and the human toll grows with it. Physicians like Dr. Oz are helping to make consumers more aware of the dangers, and correspondingly, safer.
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