Filler toxin injection is most commonly known for its successful use in cosmetic therapies. Initially, these injections were approved to treat strabismus (crossed eyes), blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelids) and cervical dystonia (muscle contractions in the neck). Added to the list of indications is use for relaxing frown lines in the area between the eyes on the forehead (glabella). Filler injections reduce facial lines and wrinkles formed from the aging process and by hyperfunctional muscles. It can also be used to treat excessive sweating.
The filler is a purified protein toxin produced by the a bacteria. Although is a toxin, there have been no serious side reported. This is because it is used in extremely small amounts for medical treatments and does not spread throughout the body.
The area to be injected is cleansed thoroughly. A topical anaesthetic cream is applied and the filler material is injected into the area with a fine needle. When it is injected into a muscle, it blocks the conduction of nerve impulses to that area and as a result, the muscle weakens. As the muscle weakens, the skin overlying the muscle relaxes and the wrinkles in the skin gradually soften and often disappear.
These injections are contraindicated in the following conditions:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Previous history of reaction to the toxin
- Neurological diseases (myasthenia gravis, Eaton-Lambert syndrome, neuropathies)
- Age -below 12 years
- Infection at the injection site
- Use of certain antibiotics (may increase effect of the substance), anti-malaria medication (may reduce the effect), and blood thinning agents, (may result in bruising)
Although the filler is well accepted, it is associated with certain adverse effects such as redness, bruising, infection, and pain at the injection site. Dizziness, difficulty in swallowing, headache and muscle weakness may also occur when this medication is injected into muscles. Double vision, drooping or swollen eyelid, dry eyes, reduced blinking, and increased sensitivity to light may also occur.