You've seen it, walking down the street in any major city - signs that claim you can get BOTOX, the neurotoxin that treats wrinkles and crows feet, for prices that seem pretty unbelievable. Not to be mistaken for any special deals that a reputable practice may send you, some of these deals that seem too good to be true, often are.
Recently reported on The Dr. Oz Show, approximately 20% of all BOTOX that is on the market is fake - counterfeit BOTOX that often comes from overseas, that are being bought at a fraction of a cost of the real deal. These dubious savings are then projected onto the potential patient but at what cost? These bargain prices for BOTOX may be nice on your budget buy may also lead to serious complications to your health.
"I would be suspicious of extremely low prices. Unlike fake purses, fake injectables can really hurt you, or worse. Ask questions, check credentials, and do your homework. Real specialists have nothing to hide and will welcome your questions," says Dr. Claudio L. Delorenzi, past President of the Canadian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
The Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety, an alliance of major physician groups such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) who has banded together to increase patients safety, standards and awareness has released three key things that patients need to focus on when seeking any type of cosmetic procedure, including any sort of injectable.
Do your research and ask questions! When choosing a doctor, make sure to look for one that specializes in treating all cosmetic concerns of the face. Exams and procedures should happen in a licensed and properly equipped (i.e. in case of emergency, there is proper equipment) medical facility. Create a rapport with your doctor and follow up when you are supposed to. While a nurse or PA (Physician's Assistant) may perform the actual injection, it is very important that a licensed physician prescribe the actual treatment.
When seeking a doctor, Denver board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Buford says, "It's a matter of getting past all the marketing and really getting down to how many procedures they perform every year." Dr. Buford also stresses the importance of experience. "You need to look for someone who not only gets great results, but someone who also gets consistent results." While customer service is certainly important, finding a provider who is qualified and skillful in the procedure you're seeking is even more so.
Currently, there are two neurotoxins that are FDA approved in the US: BOTOX and Dysport - you should ask specifically for the brand name that is recommended for you. When speaking with your doctor, be sure to ask about what any adverse reactions or what potential outcomes may be. Don't be afraid to ask to see the packaging that the neurotoxin or injectable came in - look for identifying holograms, logos, and note the serial and lot number (this should also be noted in your medical chart). For your use, here is a list of images of US FDA approved brand logos for injectables.
If at any point, you feel that your injector is not properly trained or following proper procedure or injecting you with either a non-branded or non-approved substance, do not accept treatment. You may choose to follow up anonymously at your local FDA field office.
The search for beauty and youth often leads us down strange paths but don't make it yours a dangerous one. Although it may seem like BOTOX or any injectable for that matter, are relatively simple procedures, there's a reason they need to be prescribed and are not available over-the-counter at your local drugstore. Be a smart consumer and do your homework before considering any type of treatment, especially if the deal seems too good to be true.