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Botox, a commercial name for botulinum toxin, is used to treat various health conditions including muscle spasms, movement disorders and excessive sweating, and has been approved for cosmetic use to reduce the severity of frown lines. Botulinum toxin works by temporarily blocking a muscle’s nerve impulse.

Internet Resources

American Academy of Dermatology: Botulinum Toxin
This brochure from the American Academy of Dermatology describes how botulinum toxin is used to treat facial wrinkles. It includes before and after photos, a list of possible side effects and what to expect following treatment.

Clinical Trials – Botulinum toxin
Maintained by the National Institutes of Health, this site provides links to ongoing clinical trials for the use of botulinum toxin to treat a variety of conditions.

MedlinePlus: Botox
Developed by the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information for the lay public. This topic overview page provides links to a variety of articles about the use of botox and botulinum toxin injections for cosmetic and medical uses.

Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders: Botulinum Toxin
Describes how botulinum toxin is used to treat the symptoms of certain movement disorders. It discusses how the drug is administered, as well as the potential side effects and complications that should be considered when using the toxin for this purpose.


  • Straight talk about cosmetic surgery. Perry A. 2007.
  • Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery. Kuczynski A. 2006.
  • Botulinum Toxin Injections. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed. v. 1. pp.622-624. McClain B and Odle T. 2006.
  • The Skin Type Solution: A Revolutionary Guide to Your Best Skin Ever. Baumann L. 2006

Journal Articles

  • “Botox: beyond cosmetic fixes. The procedure that revolutionized wrinkle treatment has myriad medical uses, many still experimental. What's the evidence?” Harvard Women's Health Watch. 17(1):1-3, 2009 Sep.
  • “Botox injections may ease tension in women with pelvic muscle spasms.” Mayo Clinic Women's Healthsource. 11(4):3, Anonymous. Apr. 2007.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the  Health Learning Center  at 312-926-5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateMarch 15, 2012