Drugs Q & A

How Long Does It Take For Botox To Work?

Botox Cosmetic is an injectable wrinkle muscle relaxer. A Botox treatment is minimally invasive. It’s considered a safe, effective treatment for fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. It can also be used on the forehead between the eyes. Botox injections are noted primarily for the ability to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. They’re also used to treat conditions such as neck spasms (cervical dystonia), excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), an overactive bladder and lazy eye. Botox injections may also help prevent chronic migraines.

Botox injections use a toxin called onobotulinumtoxinA to temporarily prevent a muscle from moving. This toxin is produced by the microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning.

Botox was the first drug to use botulinum toxin. Other products now include abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport), rimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc) and incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin). Each is a little different, particularly when it comes to dosage units, so they aren’t interchangeable.

How does Botox Cosmetic work?

Botox Cosmetic works by temporarily blocking nerve signals and muscle contractions. This improves the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes and between the eyebrows. It can also slow the formation of new lines by preventing contraction of facial muscles.

It’s a minimally invasive procedure. It doesn’t involve incisions or general anesthesia. If you’re concerned about pain or discomfort, a topical anesthetic or ice can numb the treatment area.

During the procedure, your provider will use a thin needle to administer 3-5 injections of botulinum toxin type A, they will inject the targeted area between the eyebrows. You will usually need three injections on the side of each eye to smooth out crow’s feet. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 minutes.

How Long Does It Take For Botox To Work?

Botox usually begins to take effect anywhere from 3 to 5 days after treatment, though it can take up to a full 14 days after treatment for the full results to become apparent. Most patients will see results within 10 to 14 days but should wait the full 14 days to see the maximum results.

Botox Safety Information

Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible side effects and complications include:

  • Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
  • Headache or flu-like symptoms
  • Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
  • Crooked smile or drooling
  • Eye dryness or excessive tearing

Although very unlikely, it’s possible for the toxin in the injection to spread in your body. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bladder control

Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. And Botox should not be used in people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.

Select your doctor carefully

Botox must be used only under a doctor’s care. It’s important that injections be placed precisely in order to avoid side effects. Botox therapy can be dangerous if it’s administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments.

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