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Glass vial of 'BoTox', Ireland, 1998

‘BoTox’ – an abbreviation of botulinum toxin – can be injected therapeutically as a treatment for muscle disorders such as writer’s cramp. BoTox injections have also been used to prevent excessive sweating. But it is far better known as a simple form of ‘cosmetic surgery’ because of its alleged anti-wrinkle properties. The toxin is injected under the skin and blocks nerve signals to the muscles, causing them to relax and thereby lessening the appearance of frown lines. It also reduces the ability of the affected muscles to move. The effects of BoTox do not last and the toxin can be fatal if ingested. This example was prepared by Allergan Ltd, who also donated the bottle to the Science Museum’s collections.

Object number:

2000-877 Pt1



Glossary: plastic surgery

A surgical speciality dealing with the restoration or construction of the body. Often used to refer to elective surgery done for aesthetic reasons.

Glossary: botulism toxin

a powerful nerve toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, that is injected, in minute dosage, for the treatment of various conditions of muscle dysfunction, such as dystonia (including blepharospasm and torticollis) and spastic paralysis associated with cerebral palsy. Trade names:. Botox,. Dysport.

Glossary: toxin

A poisonous substance.