As a person who has appeared on television a time or two and who always concentrates on how the lines on my face might appear rather than on what I am saying – well, Botox seemed like something worth considering. Vanity, of course but it did sound like a miracle solution. In case you didn't know, it is the procedure that smooths out frown lines on foreheads or the lines between eyebrows or around your eyes. Its treatment for wrinkles lasts for three to six months which is good news on the one hand but it does mean that the procedure has to be repeated every six months to maintain a wrinkle-free face.
Nearly 2.3 million Botox procedures were performed in the USA in 2003 for cosmetic purposes. There are other approved uses of Botox which include treatment for migraine headaches and crossed eyes (cervical dystonia).
Here's where the problem comes in – and why the Editor of Animals in Focus will stick with her lines and wrinkles.
Botox (or Botulinium Toxin Type A) works by blocking nerve signals between the brain and muscles, effectively paralysing the muscles that cause wrinkles and certain medical disorders. Botox is produced from bacteria, created with varying levels of potency – some batches of the drug being stronger than others. To determine the proper strength for each vial of Botox ... the product must be tested.
Allergan, the pharmaceutical company manufacturing Botox faces the Court of public opinion over an indisputable fact: - animals suffer and die in the potency testing of Botox. Each batch must be tested before it is released to doctors or dermatologists and Allergan uses the highly questionable test known as LD50 whose sole purpose is to find the dose that kills 50% of the animals used in the test.
You read that right. The end point of the LD50 test is death to 50% of the animals used. The test's full name is the Lethal Dose 50 Percent. Our information comes courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States (please refer to http://www.hsus.org/ace/21435) who believe this type of testing must end. Th HSUS is urging consumers who use Botox purely for cosmetic purposes to avoid the product until Allergan stop testing it on animals. There are additional calls for individuals to write to Allergan to convince the company that animals should not die in the name of beauty and to contact the US Food and Drug Administration to demand that the agency funds, researches and approves alternatives to LD50 testing.
This test involves giving mice a single injection of the product into their abdominal cavity and seeing if the animals die within 3 to 4 days. Mice are assigned to various groups, each group receiving a different strength of the product to estimate the strength that will kill half the targeted group. That strength (the LD50 value) is then considered a single unit of Botox. From there, Allergan packages a given number of units into a vial for human use. Approximately 100 mice have conventionally been used per test.
Updated: 23 January 2012