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BOTOX vs. Dysport: Who Will Reign the Wrinkle Kingdom?


Dysport and BOTOX are both effective wrinkle treatments. Is one really better than the other?

Dysport from Ipsen is a botulinum toxin, similar to Allergan's Botox, that just gained FDA approval for use in America in April of this year. It is the first toxin approved in the US to offer competition for the well-established Botox prompting many questions about their differences in effectiveness and price.

How does Dysport work?

Dysport is a botulinum toxin which works by binding to the nerve endings and blocking the release of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that sends signals back and forth to the brain to contract the muscles. Dysport has non-cosmetic uses as well in those with cervical dystonia, a condition in which the muscles of the neck contract involuntarily and can result in a great deal of pain for the sufferers.

In the cosmetic use of Dysport, it is injected into the facial muscles that, when contracted, cause the glabellar lines - the frown lines between the eyebrows. When injected, the muscles relax thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

dysport before and after photos

Does it work right away? How long does it last?

One of the reported benefits of Dysport over Botox is how quickly it takes effect. Botox typically takes a few days to reach its full effect while Dysport may work in a matter of hours. Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson says, "Some patients notice that it takes effect faster and lasts longer. They choose Dysport because it will work more quickly before a party or social event."

Patients and doctors have also said that it lasts longer than Botox. According to the FDA's website, Dysport stops the tightening of the facial muscles for up to 4 months. Some patients have reported that the results lasted longer though, as long as 6 months. Botox also lasts for a few months but patients report that Dysport lasts a bit longer.

BOTOX or Dysport? Which costs less?

Most of the doctors we spoke to price both Dysport and Botox about the same. The 'cost per unit' may differ but as the dosage is different, the number of units needed is as well. In the end, they average out to be about the same. Dr. Elizabeth VanderVeer said, "The effectiveness, safety and desired outcome of treatment is our primary goal, which we strongly feel shouldn't be influenced by the price of one product versus another. As experienced clinicians, we want to be able to select the correct toxin for individual needs of each patient. That's why VanderVeer Center is offering both DYSPORT? and BOTOX? at equivalent pricing per 'unit.'"

Dr. Donaldson says there may be a cost benefit to Dysport, "for two groups of patients: those who are more sensitive to it and thereby require less product, and those who notice that it lasts longer and thereby require fewer treatments."

Dr. Darryl Blinski, said that in his office, Dysport does wind up being about $40-$50 less per treatment than Botox, but for his patients who've used Botox and are pleased with the results, it simply isn't a large enough price difference to prompt them to change. As Dysport is still new though, some offices are offering special introductory pricing.

What are the risks?

Just recently, the FDA began requiring all botulinum toxin based medications to carry the same blackbox warning about the possibility of a distance spread of the toxin. It has long been known that the toxin will spread to the surrounding muscles, those closest to the injected muscle. It is the possibility of a spread to other areas of the body that have brought about this new concern. There have been no reports of distance spread of the toxin when administered at the recommended dosage.

Common side effects are pain or redness at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle or neck pain, eye problems, dry mouth or allergic reactions. Always tell your doctor about all allergies, any other medical condition, and all other medications you're taking.

About the doctors:

Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson attended college at Yale University, then pursued his medical degree at The Ohio State University before being selected to a five-year general surgery residency at Maine Medical Center. He trained in plastic surgery at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and after completing this fellowship, he was selected for a highly prestigious advanced fellowship in oculoplastic and aesthetic surgery at Paces Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia with Emory faculty members. Dr. Donaldson is now in solo private practice as the owner of Donaldson Plastic Surgery in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Elizabeth VanderVeer is a Board Certified Medical Doctor in Portland, Oregon with extensive sub specialty training in Aesthetic Medicine. VanderVeer Center is one of the top full-service non-surgical aesthetic practices and the #1 cosmetic injectable facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Darryl Blinski is the co-director and founder of Miami's Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery. The Miami native plastic and cosmetic surgeon has been in private practice for over 25 years, and is the senior staff plastic surgeon for Baptist Hospital of Miami, after being the subsection chief of Plastic Surgery for Baptist Hospital from 1988 to 1993.