Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Botox in My Face? Probably Not!

The April Journal of Neuroscience reported that scientists injected rats' whisker muscles with botulism toxin. Tests of the rodents' brain tissue found that botulism had been transported to the brain stems.

Botox is Allergan's (the largest ophthalmic pharmaceutical company) biggest product, with $1.21 billion in sales last year. The drug, approved in 1989, became fashionable among aging celebrities, and many of my friends, who were seeking to smooth facial wrinkles. It it is now used to treat some neurological disorders with fairly good success.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether patients contracted botulism, a muscle-weakening illness, from Botox. Wouldn't you think they would have investigated this, admitedly small, possibility before it was approved.

I must ask you, didn't the idea of injecting botulism into ones face seem beyond reasonable the first time you heard that Hollywood was doing this to preserve the illusion of youth?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Black Labels for ED Supplements

The FDA released a warning to consumers not to purchase or use "Blue Steel" or "Hero" dietary supplements promoted and sold online for erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment.

The chemicals similar to sildenafil, Viagra's active ingredient, which aren't noted on the Blue Steel and Hero product labels, "may dangerously affect a person's blood pressure level," an FDA news release states.

People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. ED is a common problem in men with these medical conditions. Because they may have been advised against taking ED drugs, these men may seek products like Blue Steel and Hero because the products are marketed as "all natural" or as not containing the active ingredients in approved ED drugs, the FDA notes.

The FDA advises people who have used either of these products to discontinue use and consult their health care professional if they have experienced any adverse events that they feel are related to the use of these products.

Consumers or health care professionals can report adverse events to the FDA's MedWatch program by phone at 800-FDA-1088 or on the FDA's web site.