The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Botox to temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes called “crow’s feet”. Yes, I was surprised that Botox wasn’t already approved to banish eye wrinkles since plastic surgeons have already been using it off-label for that purpose.
Now, Allergan, manufacturer of Botox Cosmetic, has official permission from the FDA to market its botulinum toxin for that purpose. And it’s the only FDA-approved product to treat crow’s feet. I’m guessing a huge marketing blitz is in store to get us to obsess over our smile lines.
More than a decade ago, Botox Cosmetic was approved for the temporary removal of wrinkles between the eyebrows, known as frown lines, but doctors have been injecting it into fine lines all over the face.
Frozen-faced celebrities unable to break into a full smile—or with eyebrows raised in a state of constant surprise—serve as a testament to what happens when doctors are too liberal with their injections.
Also approved for medical purposes to treat chronic migraines, severe underarm sweating, and eye abnormalities, Botox products carry a boxed warning that says the muscle-paralyzing effects of the toxin may spread from the injection area to other areas of the body, causing swallowing and breathing difficulties. There haven’t been any confirmed cases of this, however, when the injections have been used at the recommended doses for approved indications, according to the FDA.
The FDA stated that the most common side effect from using Botox to treat crow’s feet is a condition called eyelid edema, which causes the eyelids to become swollen and filled with excess fluid. Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.