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Lab-Strength Toxin, Not Botox, Caused Paralyses

Posted: November 22, 2006

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"The fact that clinical practitioners were using an unlicensed product was very disturbing," said Dr. Christopher R. Braden, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an author of the report. "It needed to be highlighted and the issue dealt with so that it does not recur."

"A 100-microgram vial of toxin taken from the same manufacturer's lot as the toxin administered to the case patients contained a toxin amount sufficient to kill approximately 14,286 adults if disseminated evenly," according to the JAMA report.

McComb, his two patients, Eric and Bonnie Kaplan, and McComb's girlfriend, Alma Hall, were each paralyzed by the time they were admitted to a hospital.

All of the patients eventually survived but were hospitalized for months and required assistance for basic functions such as breathing, speaking and walking. McComb was later sent to prison for three years.

The incident does not reflect on the safety of standard treatments of Botox, stressed Dr. John Canady, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Iowa and vice president of the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons.