Botox® Cosmetic entered the market in 2002, when it was FDA-approved for the treatment of glabellar frown lines (between the eyebrows). It was the only player in the game until 2010, when Dysport® was FDA-approved for the same indication, with Xeomin following closely on its heels.
So what is the difference between the three, and why should you care?
Let’s answer the second question first. You, the consumer, may come across the other neurotoxins, Dysport® and Xeomin®, because they are often offered at a lower price compared to Botox® Cosmetic. Knowing a little bit about the three medications allows you to make a more informed decision, rather than just assuming that Dysport® and Xeomin® are “alternative brands of Botox”.
This brings us to the first question- how do the medications differ? Dysport® and Xeomin® are only FDA-approved to treat glabellar frown lines, but Botox® Cosmetic is also FDA-approved to treat crow’s feet. This additional FDA approval means that Botox® Cosmetic has been studied more thoroughly than the other two medications for safety and effectiveness. This doesn’t mean you can’t use Dysport® or Xeomin over crow’s feet, or Botox® Cosmetic over the forehead, but this is considered an off-label use. All three neurotoxins work by blocking cell acetylcholine receptors, resulting in muscle paralysis where the medication is injected. But the three medications differ in how they are made, how they are processed, and what inactive ingredients are part of the formulation. These differences mean that the three neurotoxins are not interchangeable. So it is important that your physician be very experienced in whichever neurotoxin he or she is using.
Experience injecting Botox® Cosmetic does not translate to being able to provide safe, consistent results with another product such as Dysport®.
The dosing is also different between the products: Dysport® often requires over twice as much product as Botox® Cosmetic, so even if the per unit price is half the cost of Botox® Cosmetic, you may end up paying more. If you are considering one of the other neurotoxins, I recommend asking your injector how much experience he or she has with that specific medication, and what the estimated price would be for the area you would like treated, not just the per unit price.
Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.