Fake Botox injections hospitalize 11 people across the United States

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Fake Botox injections send 11 people to hospital
Fake Botox warning issued by CDC after 22 people complain about adverse effects. Eleven of them had to be hospitalized.

ATLANTA (WTVD) -- Watch out for fake Botox. This is the latest warning from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention after the agency received complains from nearly two dozen people who had harmful reactions from counterfeit Botox.

The complications from the fake Botox are serious. Out of the 22 people who reported complications, at least 11 of them had to be hospitalized, according to the CDC.

The FDA said the fake Botox caused blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, constipation, incontinence, shortness of breath, weakness and difficulty lifting one's head. People with adverse effects have been reported in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York City, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

In North Carolina, there have not been cases related to fake Botox, but doctors said it still matters who you go to when it comes to getting any cosmetic injections such as Botox.

"The first thing to look at is what are the credentials of the people who are providing the product, and then once you do that, what products are they using," said Dr. Joseph Franklin of Franklin Plastic Surgery. Dr. Franklin said while the 22 cases of fake Botox are small when you consider the number of injections by medical professionals daily, the cases of the fake Botox are still concerning.

"There are different varieties on the black market that don't stay where you put them and that's the issue."

The CDC and FDA said in each case of the counterfeit Botox, the injections were done by unlicensed or untrained individuals or in non-healthcare settings, such as homes or spas. In North Carolina, cosmetic injections such as Botox must be done by medical professionals.

Dr. Franklin said consumers should not be afraid to ask questions, "Know your practitioner, know who is providing it."

He said when it comes to the product itself, patients should be able to ask to see the product that will be injected.

"Ask to look at the vial. It's going to have to be in English so if you see something in a language you might not be able to recognize, chances are it's not an FDA-approved product."

In the cases of counterfeit Botox, the FDA confirmed the injections came from a bottle not labeled in English. In addition, the injections contained a different active ingredient and dosage on the packaging than the manufacturer produces.

In a statement, the authorized suppliers of Botox said in part, "It has a comprehensive supply chain security program to ensure its products are safe, secure, and sold through authorized distribution channels."

As the CDC and FDA continue to investigate the cases of fake Botox, they urge consumers and licensed professionals to report any suspected counterfeit products.