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Swissmedic issues Botox warning

The Swiss authorities have issued a warning about the harmful side effects of the "anti-wrinkle" treatment known as Botox.

This content was published on June 12, 2008 - 10:13

The supervisory agency, Swissmedic, said there had been an increased problem with the non-controlled use of products using the active substance, botulinum toxin, in cosmetic "off-label use".

This means the use of medicines for purposes outside the scope of what is permitted in the information relating to the medicine.

The muscle-paralysing effect of type A botulinum toxin is increasingly used in Switzerland for cosmetic treatment of skin wrinkles.

Its use for this purpose is frequently and falsely claimed by commercial suppliers to be a simple, uncomplicated cosmetic treatment by means of an extremely minor procedure, Swissmedic said on Thursday.

Referring to reports by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Swissmedic said the product could spread and lead to problems with swallowing and breathing if applied to the throat area.

If large quantities reach the bloodstream, paralysis may occur, it said. In the worst case, there is danger of suffocation.

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