Nearly four in five Britons who receive anti-wrinkle injections suffer adverse side effects, research suggests.
Common complications from injections like Botox apparently include headaches, dizziness, and mental confusion.
Campaigners warned today that the findings, from a survey of more than 500 patients, lay bare the reality of Britain’s booming Botox industry.
Official statistics imply that jabs, which can cost as little as £100 and don’t require strict qualifications to dish out, are incredibly safe.
Only 188 adverse effects of botulinum toxin were recorded between 1991 and 2020, according to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Nearly four in five Britons who receive anti-wrinkle injections suffer adverse side effects, research suggests
But the new study, conducted by experts at University College London, challenges widely held assumptions about the substance.
Patient safety advocate Dawn Knight, an author on the research, said the MHRA data was just the tip of the iceberg.
Under current rules, a UK Esthetician does not need any mandatory qualifications.
It means that anyone can take part in a training course and is then allowed to undergo Botox treatments, although the medication itself must be prescribed by a qualified doctor.
ministers last year he pledged to ‘crackdown on unregulated cosmetic procedures’, with plans to introduce a license for cosmetic procedures like Botox and fillers.
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox injections relax the muscles in the face to smooth lines and wrinkles.
It is not permanent, usually lasting about 3 months.
In the UK, the cost of Botox injections can range from £100 to £350 for each treatment, depending on the clinic and area being treated.
Botox injections for cosmetic reasons are not available on the NHS.
The procedure, which usually takes just 10 minutes, involves injecting botulinum toxin into the muscles of the face with a very fine needle.
Then it takes about two to three days to start working and up to three weeks to see the full effect.
Side effects include headaches, a frozen look, facial weakness, and bruising, swelling, and redness where the needles entered the skin.
However, Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions.
These include abnormal eye twitches, conditions that cause muscle pain and stiffness, such as cerebral palsy, and excessive sweating.
Fountain: National Health Service
Ms Knight said the government was not moving fast enough to make it happen.
“Everyone wants it to happen faster,” he said.
“We don’t know how many people are offering these treatments, they are not visible and they are not registered.”
UCL researchers, writing in the journal Health and skin diseasefound that anxiety was the most common problem among 511 patients surveyed, with 85 people saying they suffered from it after the stick.
Pain (83), headaches and migraines (75), panic attacks (45), as well as dizziness and mental confusion (33 each), were also common.
Overall, 79 percent of patients reported having experienced side effects.
The volunteers were gathered from a survey that lasted just three months earlier this year.
Six people also pointed to more serious conditions, such as postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), when a patient’s heart rate increases rapidly after getting up from sitting or lying down.
Six Britons even claimed to have been disabled or disabled due to the anti-wrinkle procedure.
However, there was no evidence that Botox was to blame for this, or any other side effects in general. For example, another unrelated medical condition could be to blame.
However, the NHS acknowledges that headaches, bruising and temporary weakness in the face are common complications.
It adds that blurred vision can occur “very rarely.”
Botox is the most recognized brand name for the substance botulinum toxin, which is used to paralyze facial muscles in order to reduce wrinkles.
Survey participants were also asked where they got their injection, as well as who delivered it.
Nearly 15 percent of the participants said they trusted a beautician to give them the injection, with one saying they had the procedure done in a supermarket.
There are currently no minimum training standards for people to deliver Botox injections, and some providers take courses that last less than a week, campaigners warned.
Common complications of injections like Botox appear to include headaches, dizziness and brain fog, a new study suggests.
1 in 4 punctures were administered by non-physicians and nurses – beauticians were the third most popular choice of administrator
Only half of the patients surveyed reported receiving their injection at an aesthetic clinic, with the rest reporting receiving their injection at places such as spas, their workplace, or their home.
The survey also suggests that most botulinum toxin suppliers do not provide correct safety information to the public.
Almost all of the participants (92 per cent) said that their injector had not provided them with information on how to report possible side effects of the injection to the MHRA.
Survey participants also reported financial losses from its side effects, such as missing work or potentially paying for aftercare.
Ms Knight said the results suggest the cost of Britain’s failed Botox industry is under-reported and under-reported.
“The government really needs to think about who has access to this drug and how it is used,” he said.
He added that the survey suggested that illegal Botox advertisements, such as two-for-one or ‘last-minute’ deals, sadly enticed many Britons into receiving the injections without due consideration of the risks involved.
“We have really bad results and complications associated with members of the public responding to ads like that,” he said.
“We get a lot of reports where patients walk into a room and the syringes are already prepared, there’s no mention of seeing a prescriber, there’s no mention of whether they’re suitable, there’s no mention of any side effects.”
Botox, like other prescription drugs, is prohibited from being advertised to the public.
Failure to comply with these rules can result in a fine and/or two years in prison.
Ms Knight added that it’s not just individual Botox patients who are at risk.
He said the lack of official reporting meant the industry was being blinded to any broader trends that might explain some of the reported side effects.
“The role of regulators is to connect the trends between a specific batch, a product, a professional, a company, a technique or an injection that is potentially causing harm,” he said.
“This survey shows that this is not happening.”
To help combat this, Ms Knight wants to make it a legal requirement for Botox providers to report any adverse reactions in patients to that person’s GP.
The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.