Botox vs Dysport

Ever since BOTOX® Cosmetic became the anti-aging industry's biggest news and success story, this botulinum toxin injectable has dominated the cosmetic skin care market. Now, for the first time ever, another botulinum toxin injection—Dysport—has been FDA approved and released in the U.S. to join Botox in the fight against wrinkles.

Botulinum is Key to Beating Wrinkles

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and their 2008 annual statistics, Botox injections are leading the non-surgical treatment pack by a landslide—over 2.4 million patients underwent Botox injections in 2008. By comparison, around 1.2 million patients received hyaluronic acid dermal filler injections, such as Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane. These statistics leave little doubt that Botox injections are currently the most preferred treatment choice for wrinkle removal. So how will the introduction of Dysport (Reloxin) change things in the future?

Before Dysport was introduced, the lack of market competition for Botox was likely part of the reason why it reigned supreme for so long. But what are the major differences between these two wrinkle treatments, if any? Will Botox's long-time faithful followers switch to this newer injection, or remain true to the Botox name?

More About Dysport

Dysport (pronounced diss-port) has actually been distributed for cosmetic uses abroad for several years. Like Botox, Dysport got its start not as a cosmetic skin care treatment, but as a medical remedy for muscle spasms and movement disorders. The drug's benefits for aging skin were discovered as a pleasant side effect, and the Dysport movement took off from there.

Dysport came to the U.S. following the partnership of Dysport's manufacturer, Ipsen, with Medicis, the pharmaceutical company that developed filler favorites Restylane and Perlane. Dysport was intended to be marketed under the brand name "Reloxin" for U.S. patients. The FDA ruling, however, stated the treatment's original name, Dysport, would be used instead.

The main active ingredient for Dysport, and for Botox, is a refined form of the botulinum toxin type A. This toxin acts as a neuromuscular blocker that inhibits muscle tension and spasming, which can create the appearance of facial wrinkles in the forehead, crow's feet around the eyes, and creases near the corners of the mouth. Unlike with dermal fillers, Botox injections and Dysport injections are actually injected into facial muscles beneath the skin's surface. The refined toxin relaxes facial muscles, and causes the skin surface to smooth out as a result.

Differences Between the Two?

While both injectables use the botulinum toxin to relax facial muscles and eliminate wrinkles, there are some slight differences in the cost, formula, and usage of these two treatments. In terms of cost, current reports claim that Dysport will be available at a reduced price compared to Botox. The cost of Botox usually falls in the $300-$450 range, whereas the cost of Dysport has been reported to be more in the $200-$300 range. For patients who are mainly concerned with cost, Dysport could be worth a glance—just keep in mind that prices will vary depending on the area where treatments are administered and that the cost of Botox will likely decrease in response if Dysport's affordability proves threatening.

In terms of the actual treatment formula, Dysport's injectable solution is allegedly lower in concentration than Botox's. This means a couple of things. First, some doctors and patients feel that Dysport's less concentrated injections mean results don't last as long as Botox's. Additionally, the Dysport solution, likely because of its lower concentration, has been said to "spread" more easily than Botox. Spreading can be avoided if the treatment is performed cautiously by a professional and with special attention to areas around the eyes and mouth. It is difficult to say for certain whether Botox or Dysport injections will be the better option for you. Since treatment results can differ from patient to patient, it's best to meet with a cosmetic provider for a consultation prior to choosing a wrinkle-removing injectable.

When it comes to possible side effects of Botox injections vs. Dysport injections, the most common side effects experienced are similar for both treatments. Post injection, Dysport and Botox patients may experience a temporary headache, some soreness or tenderness at the injection site, light bruising, and redness. More severe side effects can include a rash or allergic reaction, and possibly some drooping of facial muscles near treated areas, usually as a result of "spreading".


While we will have to wait until Dysport has been more widely circulated and utilized to determine how it really measures up to Botox, it's fair to say that Botox injections will be an anti-aging skin care staple for years to come. Since both injectables aren't permanent, with treatment results estimated to last around 3-6 months, wrinkle removal patients may want to try out both treatments to see if they prefer one over the other.

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