In a recent news article, we cautioned consumers about purchasing discount Botox from websites like Groupon and Living Social. “Most commonly the products are diluted, so the effect is less than optimal.”
Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has followed up with a warning to doctors: “The receipt of suspicious or unsolicited offers from unknown suppliers should be questioned and extra caution should be taken when considering them.” In other words, it is your doctor’s job to make sure products are full strength, uncontaminated and properly stored and manufactured.
On December 19, 2012, the FDA warned 350 medical practices that they may have received unapproved versions of Botox from a foreign supplier. The problem with unlicensed Botox from foreign shores is that such medications may be counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective, and/or unsafe.
Further, unapproved meds may lack the necessary FDA-required labels that ensure appropriate, safe use and be boxed without the warnings or medication guides required for botulinum toxin products. Without this labeling, health care practitioners and patients will not be fully informed of potential risks or side effects from inappropriate use of these products.
The FDA warning strongly discouraged purchase of products received from foreign suppliers owned and operated by Canada Drugs, known under the following names: Quality Specialty Products (QSP), A+ Health Supplies, QP Medical, Bridgewater Medical, or Clinical Care. With these unapproved products, the FDA cannot guarantee that their manufacture and handling follow US regulations and that the medications are safe or effective. FDA advice to doctors who have such products is to simply stop administering them.
It is the job of healthcare professionals and consumers alike to make sure that your syringe of Botox contains a safe and effective product. The Botox manufacturer, Allergan, says that legitimate Botox containers always contain the word ‘cosmetic’. Boxes and vials missing the ‘cosmetic’ label may be real Botox, but are not approved for cosmetic use in the United States.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor exactly what you are being injected with. Further, even with the FDA-approved product, all Botox injections are not equal. It takes a board-certified practitioner in an appropriate specialty with extensive training and experience to deliver the best results.
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