Via an almost unbeliveable story on Wired:
A website that sells a prescription drug similar to Botox without requiring a prescription claims it has more than 2,000 customers. Some have learned how to inject the botulism-derived drug into their own faces from YouTube videos produced for the site.
Discountmedspa sells a variety of other DIY cosmetic treatments, including prescription Renova, and lip-filling gels. The botulinum toxin-derivative for sale on the site is Dysport, produced by the pharmaceutical company Ipsen and is a competitor of Allergan’s Botox. The site simply calls it “the Freeze.”
A Grand Prairie, Texas, woman, Laurie D’Alleva, who appears to be the site’s proprietor, performs treatments on herself in self-made videos posted to the site’s YouTube channel. In one video, D’Alleva pulls out a vial of what is presumably Dysport and a syringe filled with saline.
“It’s important to remember that you are mixing the potency of the botox,” she says, mixing the contents of the vial with the saline solution. She then injects her forehead and the areas around her eyes.
Ipsen received FDA clearance to sell Dysport in the United States a few months ago, but it’s a prescription medication. It’s the first direct competitor for the branded Botox, which is the most popular cosmetic treatment in America. Doctors did more than 2.4 million Botox procedures in 2008, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In recent years, the vast amounts of money spent on the treatment have attracted scams and knockoffs, which the FDA has had to crack down on. In May, the FDA also ruled the drug needed a tougher “black-box” warning label to reflect an increased understanding of the small, but real risks of the treatment.
In the U.S., it is illegal for anyone but a doctor or nurse practitioner to prescribe drugs to patients and only pharmacists can dispense drugs to people.
Video: The original YouTube video was pulled by DiscountMedSpa on Wednesday, October 28. Wired.com had saved the source and has embedded that video in the story.
In a blog post response to a customer’s skeptical query, Laurie provided the following explanation for the legality of her site and the provenance of her products.
I know there is much information out on the net about fillers and Botox ‘knock-offs’. This is not what I am selling! The products I have are from a company names Ipsen… I have a connection that allows me to get products that are not usually available in the states because I purchase other products in their line. Now the trick is I have to market it and label it under my own brand, to keep them and myself from getting into any legal trouble. It does take a leap of faith, but I assure you I have over 2000 customers now who love the products and are saving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars between us!
“I watched a Doctor on YouTube.com do this to a patient and he warned people not to inject below the eyes however I had to put a smile on my face too,” Lesley commented on a blog post. “The trick to this is to hold a pencil just at the corner of one side of your mouth and inject two units of Freeze at the very bottom of your chin. This will cause your [sic] very end of your mouth to turn up. Then do the other side the same way. If you don’t get it even you may have a crooked smile so be very careful that the injection is placed in exactly the same place as the other side.”
Her recommendation for another user is to “watch YouTube.com and you will learn a lot of some of the Doctors [sic] secrets to recreating your face the way you want to look.”
Other women describe mishaps with over-injecting the drug.
“My Dr. would never inject the crows feet. I did and got GREAT results!” wrote a commenter named Pat. “Unfortunately, I can’t read those little hash marks on the syringe too well and over injected above the brow on one side. A week later I’m now sporting a half closed and swollen eye, and look ready for Halloween!”
the Texas Department of State Health Services released the following statement, but would not comment further.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services is aware of discountmedspa.com through a complaint we received. That complaint status remains open and under review,” the agency wrote.
The complaint was made under the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which regulates the sale of prescription drugs like Dysport in the state.
“Botox is a prescription drug that must be dispensed or sold by a licensee pharmacy and only with a prescription from a licensed practitioner. Any over-the-counter sale of Botox is illegal,” the agency affirmed.
Unbelieveable that people could be so dumb as to inject themselves with Botox... or anything else for that matter. Discount Medspa's owner is definately headed for the slammer.