The History of Botox

I am always looking for new information about aesthetic treatments and developments in this cutting edge field of medicine.  However, I recently came across a very interesting article that was more historical in nature about Botox, one of our most popular treatments.

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek details the origin story of Botox, along with the precise and guarded nature of its manufacturing and distribution.  Botox is actually the brainchild of two different scientists who developed this modern day medication from two different perspectives in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ed Schantz was a chemist who initially worked for the U.S. government.  He later began lecturing and researching at the University of Wisconsin, where he perfected the process of purifying a botulinum toxin for research purposes.

Doctor Alan Scott was an ophthalmologist who was looking for a new treatment for strabismus, the condition where poor eye muscle control leads to unintentionally crossed eyes.  A mutual friend connected the two scientists, but it was Dr. Scott who transformed the raw toxin into a pharmaceutical drug.

Dr. Scott eventually formed a company called Oculinum, which also happens to be the original name for the drug which would become world famous by a different name.  He continued to administer Oculinum exclusively for the treatment of strabismus and blepharospasm, or twitchy eyelids.

The Food and Drug Administration approved this drug in 1989 for these specific purposes.  Eventually, the pharmaceutical company Allergan bought this medication and company from Dr. Scott in 1991, and renamed it (you guessed it) Botox in 1992.

How did Botox go from solely being a treatment for lazy eye and twitchy eyelids to the wrinkle reducer and migraine reliever we know it as today?  Like many other discoveries in medicine, the full usefulness of Botox was discovered by accident.

A married couple, both of whom happened to be doctors, virtually fell into the amazing properties of Botox.  Dr. Jean Carruthers, an eye doctor in Vancouver, administered Botox regularly to treat patients for eyelid spasms.

Eventually, one of Dr. Carruthers’ patients kept wanting to get Botox injections even after her eyelid spasms were better.  This particular patient noted that she wanted the “beautiful untroubled expression” she noticed had developed after the treatment.

Around the same time, Dr. Jean Carruthers’ husband, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, was actively looking for a treatment for facial wrinkles and lines.  The two doctors teamed up to try Botox for forehead wrinkles and first used this injection on their own receptionist.

Within the first few days of getting Botox injected into her forehead, their receptionist developed a smooth forehead and appeared “refreshed, open and younger,” according to the doctors’ original research notes.  Dr. Jean tried it on herself, and now says that she has not frowned since.

After further clinical trials, the FDA approved Botox in 2002 for facial lines between the eyes, and the rest is history.  Subsequent FDA approvals for forehead lines and crow’s feet areas sped up the acceptance of this medication treatment.

At first, the rich and famous used Botox almost exclusively.  Now it is an everyday affordable treatment, and is more widely accepted across the country and the world.

In addition to the aesthetic uses, Botox is approved for treatment of migraine headaches and excessive sweating.  Other medical specialties are using Botox in the esophagus, bladder, vocal cords, and various skeletal muscle groups to treat any form of muscular spasms that can occur and be painful and debilitating.  All these advancements have occurred with an amazing track record of safety.

I myself has been injecting Botox since 2004, and have treated literally thousands of patients with excellent results.  As one of the top providers of Botox in Maine, I have full confidence that I can provide you with the “refreshed, open and younger” look you desire.

If you have any questions about Botox or any of our other treatments, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (207) 873-2158.  We can also schedule your next Botox treatment, or provide you with a free consultation to determine if a Botox treatment is right for you.

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