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15 May 2007

A DISTINGUISHED neurologist has added her voice to the growing demand for government regulation of the cosmetic use of Botulinum toxin, more commonly known by the name Botoxยฎ. Dr. Marie-Helene Marion believes that the proper administration of Botulinum toxin has been hijacked by people working in the beauty therapy and leisure industries and judges the current regulation in the UK as completely inadequate.

Dr. Marion, consultant neurologist at St. Georgeโ€™s Hospital, London, was a pioneer in the medical application of Botulinum toxin in France (where its use is strictly controlled), and regularly uses the drug in her private practice at the London BTX Centre. She says, โ€œIn many ways Botulinum toxin is remarkable, a miracle drug perhaps. It can be used for treating many disabling medical conditions.โ€ Dr. Marion stresses that it is important to remember that Botox injections were initially used as a medical treatment in the 1980s to help children with strabismus and continues to be used for medical purposes today for conditions such as dystonia, spasticity and excessive sweating. It wasnโ€™t until the early 1990s that its cosmetic potential was realised.

Dr. Marion says, โ€œToday Botox is treated as a lifestyle product, like sun cream or lip gloss. While Botulinum toxin itself is not addictive, some patients hope that changes in their appearance will be associated with changes in their personal life, and thus seeking treatment for the wrong reasons. Doctors have a role in helping these patients to understand the realistic goals of cosmetic treatments.โ€ Dr. Marion has no objection to the cosmetic application of Botox โ€“ indeed, she has many patients who visit her for the treatment of both expressive and aging lines, as well as for restoring facial expressions after facial palsy.

The toxin can be applied to treat lines and wrinkles, but a doctor, who is trained in the use of Botulinum toxin and facial anatomy, should administer the injections. The Botox will then actually smooth rather than freeze facial expression. Frozen, rubberised faces are a sign of Botulinum toxin excess or abuse. Only by visiting a qualified doctor will patients receive a careful and thorough consultation, and patientโ€™s expectations, and what can be realistically and safely achieved, will be discussed. Also, the protocol of injection (that is, doses, sites and number of injections) should be decided after clinical examination, looking in particular at the way the patient spontaneously expresses himself/herself, because frowning, raising the eyebrows or smiling may accentuate the facial lines. Every individual shows different expressive lines, therefore requiring to be injected differently.

Dr. Marion also believes that public discussion has lost sight of the fact that Botulinum toxin, like many of the powerful drugs used in the medical profession, can be toxic at higher, non-therapeutic doses. This is why it is always advisable to have Botox injections appraised and administered by a Doctor who specialises in the use of Botulinum toxin. She says, โ€œThe government has rejected calls for tighter controls on the cosmetic uses of Botulinum toxin and leaves UK as the only European country where the drug can be administered by non-medical staff. Only last month the Health Minister Lord Hunt had endorsed a self-regulatory scheme for industry practitioners. There should be a more open debate to protect the public from Botulinum toxin being injected indiscriminately by non-medical staff."


For further press information or to interview Dr Marion please contact: Olivia Lawrence at Hamilton PR on 01892 546599 or email


โ€ข Dr. Marie-Helene Marion, MD, AIHP, ACCCA-Paris, is Consultant Neurologist at St. Georgeโ€™s Hospital, London, and registered with the GMC. A graduate of the University of Paris, Dr. Marion has lived and worked in the UK since 1999

โ€ข The London BTX Centre, which is one of the leading private specialist medical clinics for the therapeutic application of Botox in London. The London BTX Centre is located at 9a Wilbraham Place, London SW1X 9AE, Tel. 0800 107 4888. The clinicโ€™s web address is

โ€ข Botox injections have been known to cause some transient side effects that can last between 4-6 weeks, but they are rare. Side effects can be caused by the wrong dosage, the technique, or it could be that the patient is particularly sensitive. Patients can also become resistant to Botulinum toxin and this has been reported in 2% of the cases in Europe, mainly when frequent injections (with an interval less than 9 weeks between injections), or where injections with large doses have been performed

โ€ข Botox treatment is not recommended for pregnant women and patients with some muscle diseases, hence the necessity for a careful and detailed consultation prior to injection

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