Current botulinum toxin products are more similar than different and can be effectively used for many purposes beyond facial lines and wrinkles.
The already huge market for botulinum toxin usage is only getting bigger.
At the Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference in Las Vegas yesterday (Saturday, Oct. 3), Susan Weinkle, M.D., gave a seminar on “New Applications for Botulinum Toxin.” She noted that treatment with botulinum toxin type A products is the most common cosmetic procedure performed, at more than two million a year.
“Right now, about 13 percent of the population is 65 or older,” says Dr. Weinkle, a Bradenton, Fla., dermatologist. “By 2030, that segment will increase to 20 percent. So the market for botulinum toxin use is growing steadily-and that’s what makes this topic so exciting.”
Dr. Weinkle told her audience that one of the most important things to remember about the three current botulinum products on the market-Botox (Allergan), Dysport (Galderma) and Xeomin (Merz)-is how similar they are to each other.
“We need to see that they’re more like each other than they are different from each other,” she says. “The difference is in understanding their potency and how a dose of one is equivalent to a dose of another.”
Dr. Weinkle says those doses can effectively be turned to purposes beyond their approved uses, which are generally the improvement of facial lines and wrinkles.
“For example, you can utilize these products as neuromodulators that can be very helpful in treating patients with facial tics or spasms,” she says. “Also, patients with sleep bruxism-the grinding of teeth-can benefit from injections of botulinum toxin into the masseter muscle. This also has the effect of helping to improve facial shape.”
Additional applications include pain relief from post-herpetic neuralgia, expediting wound healing and closure, and treating muscular conditions such as tennis elbow and persistent shoulder and neck pain or spasms. Botulinum toxin can also benefit patients suffering from migraine headaches, treatment for which the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox in 2010.
“There is also some thought that botulinum toxin can reduce sebum production and pore size,” Dr. Weinkle says. “This is important for patients with acne and rosacea.”
In the relatively near future, she says, dermatologists can expect to see new injectables and reconstituted botulinum toxin products. “Also, a topical botulinum toxin gel is in phase three studies,” Dr. Weinkle says.