Suspected 'fake' Botox hospitalized two people in Illinois

Two people in Illinois were hospitalized after receiving injections of a fake version of Botox.

On 8th April, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) sent out a press release to alert health care facilities to those showing symptoms of “botulism,” after two people reported receiving injections at a LaSalle County hospital of Botox or a “similar counterfeit product.”

“Illinois residents should be cautious when considering cosmetic treatment,” IDPH director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in the release. “Getting these treatments in unlicensed, unapproved settings can put you or your loved ones at risk for health problems.”

“Please only receive cosmetic services under the care of licensed professionals who are trained to perform these procedures and use FDA approved products,” she continued. “If you develop any health problems after recent cosmetic treatment, contact your health care provider immediately for help and assistance.”

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves. Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms include weakness around the eyes, face, mouth and throat, which spreads to other parts of the body such as the neck, arms and body, and weakens the muscles used for breathing. This causes difficulty in breathing and death.

Both individuals reported symptoms of botulism, including blurred/double vision, droopy face, fatigue, shortness of breath, wheezing, and hoarse voice following the injection, IDPH said.

Both said they received the injection from a LaSalle County licensed nurse “acting outside of her authority.”

IDPH noted that similar cases have also been reported Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), but it did not say whether those cases were related to those in Illinois.

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TDH issued a release last week saying four people reported botulism symptoms, which initial investigations suggested were the result of injecting “fake” Botox products.

Both health departments said they asked healthcare providers to report botulism cases along with the patient's history of Botox injections and information such as “injection sites, number of doses administered” and “product used.”

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Botulinum toxin — the main ingredient in Botox and a facial muscle relaxant — can only be administered by professionals licensed under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDPHR), IDPH noted. Doctors and nurses are included in the IDFPR's list, while beauticians and estheticians are not.

It noted that health care providers who administer Botox must ensure that the product they receive is “approved” by Allergan, the FDA-approved manufacturer of Botox.

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