I Had Botulism As an Infant. What Can I Use As an Alternative to Botox?

I had Infant Botulism at 6 months and my father has told me never to get Botox injections as an adult because I am allergic. I am reaching towards 30 and am looking for a safe alternative.

Doctor Answers 6

Botulism and Botox

Botulism as a child may have left you with antibodies to the toxin. In my practice I have treated CDC workers who were immunized 20 years ago against botulinum toxin, and have found cosmetic treatments to be very effective. In large part the success or failure of your treatment will rest on if you still have adequate immune cells with the ability to produce botulinum toxin antibodies in your system. Probably the best test is to try a cosmetic dose and see what effect you will achieve.

Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Botox now if one had botulism as an infant

Although it may be completely safe and effective for you to have Botox injected now as an adult despite your having been afflicted with botulism as an infant, I'm not sure if there has been a documented case of this having been done before. You might have developed some immune cells from your exposure to the botulism and it might be that with repeated Botox you will not get an effective result because your immune cells may attack the botox molecule. You may not be allergic to it but it may not be effective. On the other hand there might be an exagerated immune response and possibly you might feel ill.

All medicines, even those used in Europe, are of one serotype of the chemical. Some Botox products are on the horizon that have less protein components and this might lead to less of a chance of an immune reaction.

Without botox the only other treatments could be fillers for lines and resurfacing with chemical peels, dermabrasion, lasers such as Fraxel, etc. but Botox is the best for forehead lines and crows feet at the corners of the eyelids.

Before contemplating any treatment with Botox or a substitute, you should consult with a neurologist who uses Botox in their practice.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Botulism versus Botox injection

Botulism. the disease, is commonly due to oral intake of the bacteria or toxin produced by the bacterial via the GI tract or transmission through open wounds. Generally it results in sytemic disseminaiton of the toxin with paralysis as the consequence. Botox treatment consists of localized injection of minute quantities of the toxin that, for the most part, are active in a very targeted region with the desired effects. It is unlikey that you are allergic but could undergo skin testing.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Botulism as an infant and Botox

You should not expect an allergic reaction. There may be however less effect of Botox, because of antibodies from the botulism that neutralise your injection. Give it a try.

Robert Kasten, MD
Mainz Dermatologic Surgeon

Botulism will likely not cause an allergy to Botox

I do agree with my colleague that, given your history of botulism, you should pursue allergy testing before cosmetic Botox injections. However, your infant botulism resulted from exposure to massive quantities of botulinum toxin into your bloodstream rather than an allergy. The cosmetic doses are a minute fraction of botulinum toxin compared to your exposure as an infant. However, better to be safe than sorry especially prior to pursuing elective treatment. Best,

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

You may or may not be allergic to Botox.

Before having Botox in this circumstance it might be reasonable to have allergy testing to Botox. The can be done with a a tiny does of Botox. Consult a dermatologist in your area.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.