At this point, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard about Botox. It is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world. Manufactured by a company called Allergan for about 20 years, Botox is an injectable solution that relaxes the muscles that cause unwanted facial wrinkles such as the frown lines, forehead lines, and crows’ feet. In April of 2009, a new competitor to Botox called Dysport was approved by the FDA. Dysport is manufactured by a company called Medicis (the company that also makes the Restylane line of products). Prior to its approval by the FDA in 2009, Dysport had previously been shown to be safe and effective for many years in Europe.
As Dysport gains traction in the U.S. market, I am increasingly being asked by my patients about the differences between Dysport and Botox, and which one is “the best” option. In truth, Botox and Dysport are extremely similar in terms of their mechanism of action, safety profile, and clinical efficacy. Both are forms of botulinum type A, which relaxes the facial muscles that produce unwanted wrinkles. The strength of each unit of Dysport is different than for each unit of Botox. More important than the “which is better” is having a provider who understands the nuances of these potency differences (and can adjust the dosing appropriately), who understands facial anatomy and how to avoid “danger zones”, and who has the appropriate training and experience to perform the procedure safely and competently.
In my opinion, equivalent results can be obtained with both products when performed by a skilled and qualified board -certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Dysport may have an advantage in terms of its rapidity of onset in comparison with Botox. Dysport typically peaks in a few days, whereas Botox may take 7 to 14 days. Consequently, patients who prefer quick results may be better candidates for Dysport. As an additional consideration, people who receive the same product repeatedly for many years (whether it be Botox or Dysport) may notice that the effects diminish over time (both in terms of clinical effects and duration). In these instances, it may be appropriate to shift gears and transition to the alternative product (e.g. Switch from Botox to Dysport).
In summary, we are fortunate to have two extremely popular, safe, and effective products to improve unwanted wrinkles such as frown lines (“11 lines”), forehead lines, and crows’ feet. Overwhelmingly, our patients at PCD are extremely satisfied with treatment with either product. Ultimately, WHO performs the procedure is of far more importance than WHICH product is used. From time to time, there are special promotions that may make one choice economically more viable. It would be reasonable to take advantage of one of these opportunities to try something new, or perhaps provide the motivation to take the plunge for the first time if you’ve been on the fence.