The not-Botox deaths in Florida

agen_botulism.jpgJAMA has released an abstract showing that the doctor in Florida who injected himself and three others with botulism, may have used enough to kill himself 2857 times. They also state that "no cases of botulism with detectable serum toxin have previously been attributed to cosmetic or therapeutic botulinum toxin injections."

Results  Clinical characteristics of the 4 case-patients were consistent with those of naturally occurring botulism. All case-patients had been injected with a highly concentrated, unlicensed preparation of botulinum toxin A and may have received doses 2857 times the estimated human lethal dose by injection. Pretreatment serum toxin levels in 3 of the 4 case-patients were equivalent to 21 to 43 times the estimated human lethal dose; pretreatment serum from the fourth epidemiologically linked case-patient was not available. A 100-µg vial of toxin taken from the same manufacturer's lot as toxin administered to the case-patients contained a toxin amount sufficient to kill approximately 14 286 adults by injection if disseminated evenly.

Conclusions  These laboratory-confirmed cases of botulism demonstrate that clinical use of unlicensed botulinum toxin A can result in severe, life-threatening illness. Further education and regulation are needed to prevent the inappropriate marketing, sale, and clinical use of unlicensed botulinum toxin products.

They should have said: The more doctors do this, the fewer the doctors that will be doing this.