Botulinum Toxin Type A: Botox can be stored for long
Syed Akbar Hyderabad: In a boon to people who want to look young, a city researcher hasfound that Botulinum Toxin Type A, popularly known as Botox, can be stored afterunsealing for as long as six weeks. Untill now a Botox vial is discarded within four hours of its opening. Believing that ithas a low shelf life, doctors discard the vial after treating a patient, though it hasmedicine enough for four people. This in other words means, a patient undergoing Botoxtreatment spends three times more on the medicine. Animal studies by senior plastic surgeon Dr Debraj Shome have shown that Botox is not afragile molecule and its shelf life can be increased to as long as six weeks, provided itis kept in a refrigerator. Since the opened vial can be used for three more sittings, thecost of treatment comes down drastically, enabling more people to go in for Botoxinjections. "Botox is one of the fastest emerging solutions for people who want to look young andclear wrinkles on their faces. When injected under the skin, Botox relaxes the muscletissues below the skin and this effect reduces wrinkles and lines of ageing. Thanks toits high cost, it is still out of reach for many middle income groups," he said, addingthat studies on animals have shown that the shelf life of Botox can be prolonged. Dr Shome, who heads the Institute of Aesthetics Surgery at Apollo Hospitals here, said incentres where clinicians use only low doses of Botox, the vial, once opened is discardedif they do not get other patients within four hours. Botox is a an expensive drug and thecost of this wasted solution is passed on to the patient. As many as 64 white Swiss Webster mice, aged between two and four weeks, were selectedfor the study. The rats were divided into eight groups. The reconstituted Botox wassecurely placed in a battery operated mechanised contraption. The contraption with thevial was placed in the refrigerator. The vial was inverted and straightened 30 times aminute continuously by the apparatus. One group of eight mice were each injected with 1 unit of the agitated Botox on days 1,3, 5, 7, 14 and 21, 28 and 42, to evaluate its efficacy. The results showed that theeffect of Botox can be maintained even up to six weeks, provided it was refrigerated. “Botox therapy is set to become much cheaper as physicians can now use a single vial inmultiple patients and therefore, pass on the benefits of the cost-saving to theconsumers. I expect Botox prices to become at least 30 per cent cheaper," Dr Shome said.