What is the Difference Between Botox Cosmetic and Botox Therapeutic

Botulinum toxin is derived from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In humans, it acts as a neurotoxin, effectively blocking the transmission of neurological signals between the brain and any muscle in which the toxin is injected.

There are eight types of botulinum toxin, types A through H, and two of those types - A and B - are sold commercially and medically for use in humans. The most well-known and popular commercially available botulinum toxin product is Botox, which contains botulinum toxin type A. Other botulinum toxin type A products include Dysport and Xeomin. Botulinum toxin type B is available as Myobloc.

What is Botox Cosmetic and what can it treat?

Botox Cosmetic is a dermal injectable that must be prescribed and administered by a healthcare professional such as a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. Botox Cosmetic contains botulinum toxin type A and helps diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Upon injection, Botox Cosmetic temporarily paralyzes the muscles by blocking the chemical signals between the brain and the muscle that cause contraction. This temporarily prevents the skin from forming wrinkles.

Botox Cosmetic was not introduced to the market until 2002, when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the temporary improvement of the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar lines, which appear between the eyebrows. It was also approved for the treatment of moderate to severe crow’s feet, the lines that appear at the corners of the eyes, in 2013, and again in 2017 for the treatment of moderate to severe forehead lines.

Who is Botox Cosmetic suitable for?

Botox Cosmetic is suitable for temporarily treating all of the abovementioned facial skin issues in patients between the ages of 18 and 65. Though many assume that Botox Cosmetic is intended for older patients who are already showing the signs of aging, it is also suitable for younger patients who wish to prevent further development of glabellar lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines.

What is Botox Therapeutic and what can it treat?

Botox Therapeutic is a prescription medicine that is the same formulation as Botox Cosmetic, but is used as treatment for several medical conditions or symptoms. Sometimes referred to as Botox Medical, the use of Botox for therapeutic purposes predates its use for cosmetic treatment, which was originally noted as a side effect of medical treatment. As Botox Therapeutic is compositionally the same as Botox Cosmetic, the mechanism of action is the same, even though its uses are very different.

Botox Therapeutic was first introduced in 1989, with Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) approval for the treatment of eye muscle disorders such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and blepharospasm (eye twitching) . Since its introduction, Botox Therapeutic has been discovered to help treat a number of other medical issues, including:

  • Overactive bladder, including incontinence;
  • Chronic migraines and headaches (in patients with headaches lasting 4 hours or more on 15 or more days in a month-long period);
  • Muscle stiffness in elbows, wrists, fingers, thumbs, ankles, and toes;
  • Cervical dystonia, including abnormal head position and neck pain;
  • Primary hyperhidrosis, including excessive sweating in the underarms, hands, feet, head, and face.

Who is Botox Therapeutic suitable for?

Botox Therapeutic is suitable for any patient living with the abovementioned conditions who has been prescribed the injections by a medical professional. The age requirement for Botox Therapeutic varies by condition, with treatment being suitable for patients 12 and older in cases of strabismus or blepharospasm, patients 16 and older in cases of cervical dystonia, and patients 18 and older in cases of muscle stiffness, chronic migraines, incontinence, and overactive bladder.

Botox Cosmetic vs Botox Therapeutic

The treatment processes for Botox Cosmetic and Botox Therapeutic are very similar and vary only according to injection location. Both Botox Cosmetic and Botox Therapeutic must be injected directly into the muscles that cause or contribute to the issue or condition being treated.

For treatment with Botox Cosmetic, this means injection directly into the muscles that cause the wrinkles to form. For treatment with Botox Therapeutic, the injection varies by condition. For example, it may be injected into the bladder for overactive bladder symptoms and incontinence, or into the neck and head for chronic migraines.

Another significant difference between treatment with Botox Cosmetic and Botox Therapeutic is in dosage, with conditions requiring Botox Therapeutic typically calling for a higher dosage. The duration of effect is similar for Botox Cosmetic and Botox Therapeutic, lasting anywhere between three and six months.

The duration of results varies slightly by location, and optimal effects typically take approximately two weeks to present. Patients receiving treatment with Botox Cosmetic or Botox Therapeutic should not receive injections more frequently than once every three months.