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Also called: Botulinum toxin type A


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.

Learn More

  • (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
  • (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)
  • (Dystonia Medical Research Foundation)
  • (Logical Images)
  • (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (American Academy of Dermatology)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Dermatology)