Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It's the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. Doctors use it in small doses to treat health problems, including
- Temporary smoothing of facial wrinkles and improving your appearance
- Severe underarm sweating
- Cervical dystonia - a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions
- Blepharospasm - uncontrollable blinking
- Strabismus - misaligned eyes
- Chronic migraine
- Overactive bladder
Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about three to twelve months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Botox (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
- Botulinum Neurotoxin Injections (Dystonia Medical Research Foundation)
- Botulinum Toxin (Botox) (Logical Images)
- Botulinum Toxin (Botox) for Facial Wrinkles (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- Botulinum Toxin Injections: A Treatment for Muscle Spasms (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Botulinum Toxin Therapy: Overview (American Academy of Dermatology)
- Can Botox Injections Relieve Arthritis Pain? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Counterfeit Version of Botox Found in the United States (Food and Drug Administration)
- Injectables and Wrinkle Treatment: Understanding Types of Treatments for Facial Wrinkles (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)
- Neuromodulators for Aging Skin (American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)
Videos and Tutorials
- Strabismus: Botox Treatment (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Botulinum Toxins (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Evaluation of the efficiency and safety of botulinum toxin A injection...
- Article: Improvements in pain, medication use and quality of life in onabotulinumtoxinA-resistant...
- Article: Botulinum toxin as an ultrasensitive reporter for bacterial and SARS-CoV-2 nucleic...
- Botox -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Dermatologist (American Academy of Dermatology)