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Dysport vs Botox: Is it truly Coke vs. Pepsi?

dysport vs botoxThe short answer is yes, in many cases, choosing Dysport or Botox is a matter of preference for either the person receiving the treatment or the licensed injection specialist performing the procedure. There are a few differences separating the two products, but they are actually quite similar.

Both Dy sport and Botox are forms of botulinum toxin type A, which is extracted for safe use in humans to relax muscles and decrease movement.  Biologically and chemically, they are almost identical, both containing the same 150 kilodalton active core.  Dysport does have greater variability in the size and molecular weight of the accessory (protective) proteins attached to this core, which Botox has a consistent size and weight of 900 kilodaltons.  Clinically, this does lead to some differences discussed below.  What is most important is that they use the exact same mechanism of action in the muscle.  Both product relax muscle tissue and prevents it from responding to the nerve impulses that control muscle contraction. Repeated muscle contractions are the cause of those wrinkles that so many people want to eliminate. Over time, smiling and squinting result in crows’ feet around your eyes, frowning creates lines between your brows and raising your eyebrows etches forehead lines.  Dysport and Botox seek to reduce the appearance of these lines; with regular upkeep and visits to certified injection specialists with a focus on a natural-looking anti-aging aesthetic, you will find you look rejuvenated and more youthful, not frozen or scary like the media likes to report.

Introducing the botulinum toxin in small, injected amounts temporarily blocks contractions in the treated muscle area and relaxes it, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Both Dysport and Botox help improve the appearance of facial lines in this way. When the treatment fades, the lines reappear.  Repeated injections are necessary, and your injection specialist will tell you when you should come in again for touch-up treatments.

Some of the differences between the products come from their formulas. Dysport is more diluted than Botox, which changes the dosage level. If you’re used to a certain number of units with your Botox treatments, that number will likely increase when switching to Dysport. Greater dilution doesn’t make it less effective; the dosage is mainly a consideration for the injection specialist who administers the treatment. Dysport has smaller protein molecules as well, which may reduce the formation of antibodies that eventually break down the formula and reduce its effectiveness.

Because of these formula and structural differences, Dysport behaves a bit differently in the body than Botox does. Dysport tends to diffuse more, causing it to spread out over a broader area after it’s injected. This can be beneficial when treating a larger area, such as wide forehead wrinkles, and areas with thinner muscles, such as crows’ feet.

Greater diffusion means fewer injections to achieve desired results, and fewer injections mean less discomfort. It also means that Dysport may not work as well for treating small areas or areas with thicker muscles, such as the space between your eyebrows or around your mouth. While an experienced injection specialist who knows facial musculature quite well can control the diffusion and keep the treatment area very specific, Botox may simply be better for some areas and Dysport for others.

Additionally, some people who have not responded to Botox report that Dysport works well for them; these are personal reports that don’t yet have clinical proof to support them.

What do studies show about Dysport vs Botox?

Dysport Botox AlternativeMost studies comparing the two products have focused on their uses for medical conditions rather than as cosmetic treatments. However, an early 2004 review showed that patients were more satisfied with Botox than Dysport for treating the wrinkles between their eyebrows. This was before Dysport’s 2009 FDA approval.

Another study, reported in 2011, set out to determine the specific differences between Dysport and Botox. The researchers accomplished this by injecting one side of patients’ faces with Dysport and the other side with Botox. The 30-day study found a noticeable difference in the treatment of crows’ feet specifically.

When the research subjects smiled, the sides treated with Dysport showed fewer wrinkles than the sides treated with Botox. With neutral facial expressions, there was no significant difference. Medicis Aesthetics funded that particular study. Researchers asked Allergan for funding support as well. They did not provide any, and they later disputed the findings.

Even in examining treatment for medical conditions, the products’ different formulas present some difficulties. There isn’t one clinically accepted conversion ratio used to compare the thinner, more diluted Dysport to the thicker, more concentrated Botox. Many cosmetic providers use a 3:1 ratio, meaning that three units of Dysport equal one unit of Botox, but that hasn’t yet been confirmed.  The providers at each Skin by Lovely location use what might be called a variable dose ratio, depending on which area of the face is being injected, and the strength of those muscles.

This uncertainty may have led to Allergan’s complaints about the “crows’ feet study” because researchers used more Dysport than Botox. Allergan stated that using more Botox would provide better results as well. Without a confirmed ratio, the complaint may be valid; yet calling for equal doses doesn’t account for Botox’s concentrated formula.

The competition developing between the two companies can be good for consumers, but differing medical claims can make it hard to know what’s best.  The current pricing for the products is virtually identical, once you adjust for the conversion ration.  As it stands, both Dysport and Botox are effective and considered safe for treatment of facial wrinkles. Botox may be better for small treatment areas, and Dysport might be the better choice for crows’ feet and larger treatment areas. Your injection specialist can help you decide the best options for your particular needs after a thorough consultation.

One matter not in dispute is the importance of always receiving treatment from an experienced, medically licensed injection specialist. Knock-off and counterfeit products are unsafe, and anyone who isn’t a licensed medical professional and experienced in the procedure could cause more harm than good. When making the Dysport vs Botox decision, the qualifications of the person injecting the product are more important than which product you choose.  Choose only medical professionals who are doctors, physician assistants and nurses who have had extensive training and certification in the use of injectables and aesthetics.  An aesthetician, for example, should not be performing injectable treatments and can account for many concerns surrounding Botox and other injectables across the country.  While there are some states that do allow for non-medical professionals to inject Botox, this has been the focus of investigative reports and some tough questions directed at lawmakers.

Cascades MedSpa is proud to be one of the original injectors of Dysport, people drive from all over the Orlando and Central Florida Area to have Dr. John van Wert inject them with Dysport. For your FREE consultation please call (321) 397-1212.