Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin is a poison produced by a certain type of bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). It is the same poison that causes a type of food poisoning (botulism).

Small amounts of the purified toxin (Botox) may be injected to weaken or relax muscles that are in spasm or are contracting uncontrollably, such as spasms in the eyelids or in the lower esophagus. It also may be used to rejuvenate the aging face by temporarily weakening or paralyzing the muscles, which has the effect of smoothing or eliminating wrinkles in the skin. The effect usually wears off within a few months. When injected in small amounts into muscles, the toxin does not get into the person's bloodstream and cause illness.

Last Updated: August 4, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.