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Personal misuse of super-strength botulinum toxin caused a Florida osteopath, his girlfriend, and two of his patients to become paralyzed and hospitalized for months in 2004.
Details of the much-publicized incident—which ended in the practitioner being sentenced to three years in prison—are only now published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
At the time of the incident, Bach McComb was an osteopathic physician who was continuing to practice in Oakland Park, Fla., after his license had been suspended. In the four cases described, McComb did not use a medical version of Allergan Inc.'s Botox.
Instead, he mistakenly gave himself and the three others four to six injections of a preparation of paralyzing botulinum toxin that was 2,800 times stronger than that typically used on patients, according to the authors of the JAMA article. This formulation was only intended for laboratory work.
The vial's labeling clearly marked the product as not being suitable for human use.
"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.
"This was clearly not Botox," Canady said. "More than 3 million people got Botox injections in 2005, which is the last year we have statistics on, and I don't believe any reaction such as this has been reported."
The real Botox is carefully packaged by its manufacturer, Allergan, Canady explained. "Botox comes in a vial that does not have an excessive dose, and it is reconstituted in the same vial," he said. "None of these safeguards were in place" in the Florida case, Canady added.
Basic precautions against such misuse are obvious, Canady said.
"It is important to go to a board-certified plastic surgeon," he said. "You should feel free to ask that person what his track record has been in the use of Botox. Probably the biggest take-home message is that it is important to do your homework before any medical procedure, and that includes Botox."
In addition, "It's absolutely fair to ask what material is being injected into you personally," Canady said. "I don't think it's too much to ask to see the container or the material."
And Braden cautioned consumers about bargain-hunting.
The last time he looked at the Internet, he saw advertisements for "Botox-like" medications. "I would be very suspect of those kinds of products," Braden said.
By Ed Edelson, HealthDay Reporter, November 21, 2006
Murad's Lighten and Brighten Eye Treatment was the top pick for “Best Dermatologist Brand” in the annual Shape of Beauty Awards, chosen by Shape magazine editors, beauty professionals and more than 6,000 readers. 800-336-8723
The Board of Laser Safety (BLS)/The National Council on Laser Excellence (NCLE) now offer a collaborative, unified Certified Medical Laser Safety Officer program (CMLSO) to promote overall acceptance of laser certifications. To contact the BLS, call 407-380-1553. For the NCLE, call 614-883-1739.
By Nicholas Daniello, MD
Estheticians must familiarize themselves with the most recent nonsurgical techniques in order to better advise and retain clients.
Botox injections can help facial wounds heal with less scarring, a small study finds.
"This is the first medication found to minimize scarring," senior author Dr. David Sherris, professor and chair of the department of otolaryngology at the University at Buffalo, said in a prepared statement.
His team published the study in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The study included 31 patients who suffered wounds to the forehead or had surgery to remove skin cancers from the forehead, an area that's particularly susceptible to scarring. The patients received either an injection of Botox or saline within 24 hours after wound closure.
Photographs were taken at the time the patients received the injections and again six months later. The photographs were reviewed by two facial plastic surgeons who weren't involved in the study. They rated the patients' wound healing on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 representing the best result. The two surgeons' scores were averaged to reach a final score for each patient.
The median scores for wounds injected with Botox were 8.9, compared to 7.1 for wounds injected with saline.
"The result is of substantial interest in the field of scar treatment. When a wound occurs, especially on the face, people are always worried about the scar. We can now try to improve scars with these injections," Sherris said.
The study was funded by a clinical research grant from the Mayo Clinic.
HealthDay News, August 24, 2006
The California Senate has introduced Senate Bill 1423, which will restrict registered nurses, physician assistants and physicians who have esthetic practices from using laser and IPL systems. In addition, Massachusetts, Georgia and North Carolina are considering similar bills.
According to “Cosmeceuticals in the U.S.,” a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, American spa-goers have turned their attention from injectables to cosmeceutical treatments. Sales of products such as anti-wrinkle creams and home facial peel kits jumped 7% last year to more than $13.3 billion. Projections estimate that the cosmeceuticals market will surpass $17 billion in 2010, growing a total of 29.4% between 2005 and 2010.
Cosmetic surgery continues to rise in the U.S.