While today, many of us enjoy the effects of modern Botox treatments, this special neurotoxin has had a very long history. Some of the positive effects of Botox, also known as Botulinum toxin, have been initially discovered by Justinus Kerner, a XIXth century physician who has studied this substance and has coined the term “botulism”. Botulinum toxin, which is the origin of the word “Botox”, in fact means sausage poison since this particular substance was often formed in mishandled meats and sausages. The precise origin of Botox, which was the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, was discovered by Emile van Ermengem in 1897, though the actual toxin was not isolated and purified until 1928.
A concrete medical utility was found for Botox by Dr. Alan Scott and Edward Schantz at the end of the 1960s. In 1973, Dr. Scott used botulinum toxin type A in animal experiments in order to prepare it for human use. In 1980, botulinum toxin type A, or BTX-A, was officially used to treat cross-eyes, or strabismus, and blepharospasm, which is incontrollable blinking. Throughout the 80s, the medical community has developed the use of Botox further, being considered a very effective form of strabismus treatment and blepharospasm treatment that implies manageable side-effects. The cosmetic benefits of the Botox treatment were originally discovered by Dr. Richard Clark, who published his findings in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1989. In 2002, the American Food and Drugs Administration stated that botulinum toxin type A can be used to improve the appearance of moderate to severe expression wrinkles between the glabellar lines. Since then, the use of Botox for cosmetic purposes has sky-rocketed, becoming one of the most popular types of cosmetic treatment and being especially effective for wrinkle removal.
Recently, new benefits of Botox have been identified, including its ability to reduce chronic migraines, excessive sweating and cervical dystonia. We hope that the medical potential of Botox has not yet been exhausted and that we will continue to see new positive applications of this potent neurotoxin.