May 6

Happy 20th Birthday Botox

In December of this year, Botox will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on the market after approval by the FDA in 1989 for the treatment of eyelid spasm. While it has only been approved for cosmetic indications since 2002, Botox has long been a staple of plastic surgery and dermatology offices everywhere. In those 20 years, Botox has enjoyed a virtual monopoly with no competition in North America.

That is, until now. After recent years of obscene growth in popularity, the honeymoon will soon be over. Medicis, the makers of the wrinkle filler Restylane, has just announced FDA approval of their Botox rival, called Reloxin (already marketed in Europe under the name Dysport). The company is poised to begin marketing and distributing the product within the next several months.

Reloxin, marketed as Dysport in Europe, alternative to Botox
Reloxin, marketed as Dysport in Europe, is set to enter the US market as an alternative to Botox

Not much is known about the newest entrant into the wrinkle-relaxing field. There have been some conflicting reports about its effectiveness compared to Botox. One study suggested that, in a ratio of 3 units of Reloxin to 1 unit of Botox, the new product showed slightly faster onset and appeared to last longer. In another study, though,at a ratio of 2.5 units to 1 unit of Botox, its cosmetic effect appeared to wear off about a month sooner. So, clearly it will take a little tweaking to determine the equivalent dosing to what people are now used to with Botox.

Of interest to everyone, it is thought that Reloxin will be priced about 15% lower than Botox, an especially welcome turn of events in this sour economy. And, other potential competitors are quick on their heels with PurTox (Johnson and Johnson/Mentor) and Xeomin (Merz) on the horizon and predicted to reach market by 2011. While we’re sure there will be a small learning curve, if these products can equal the safety and reliability that Botox has boasted over the years, they will be a very welcome addition to the office-based cosmetic anti-aging market.

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