Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD
Dysport is now frequently used by patients who in the past relied on Botox to reduce wrinkles. But is this new Botox alternative really any better than its predecessor?
Botox and Dysport do share many similarities, but there are also some key differences between the two that may help you decide which anti-wrinkle therapy is right for you.
Dysport and Botox have the same mode of action. They are injectable forms of Botulinum Toxin Type A, which means that when injected into wrinkle-causing muscles, they paralyze these muscles to eradicate the wrinkles. Allergan makes Botox Cosmetic, and Medicis markets Dysport in the U.S.
Dysport was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the spring of 2009 for treating forehead wrinkles and frown lines. It has been used to treat neurological disorders outside the United States for more than 15 years, and is approved as an anti-wrinkle treatment in 34 countries. By contrast, Botox has been on the market in the U.S. since 2000.
While the two wrinkle fighters are similar, Dysport and Botox CAN NOT be used interchangeably. Each requires special preparation and dosing.
Dysport vs Botox: The Differences
The effects of Dysport may kick in quicker than the effects of Botox. Some research shows that it takes Botox three to five days to work, while Dysport takes effect within one to two days. Wrinkles may even begin to fade within 24 hours after receiving Dysport.
Dysport may also last longer than Botox injections. Some studies have shown that Dysport injections can erase wrinkles for six months to one year, while Botox lasts for about three months.
Dysport Side Effects
Like Botox, Dysport may have some side effects, including local numbness, headache, swelling, bruising or a burning sensation during injection. Placing ice on the injection site before and after the Dysport treatment may help. Other risks may include droopy eyelids or uneven eyebrows (both of which are transient).
According to Botox manufacturer Allergan, people who use Dysport may be more likely to develop antibodies. The body develops antibodies when it recognizes a foreign invader and attacks it. As a result, your body may neutralize Dysport and prevent it from working.
All botulinum-based drugs — that means Botox and Dysport — must carry a "black box" warning because there is a chance that the toxin will migrate from the injection site to other parts of the body, where it can cause potentially life-threatening swallowing or breathing issues.
Most of the serious side effects from these drugs were seen among children with cerebral palsy who were treated for spasticity of their limbs. This is not currently an FDA-approved use of these products in either adults or children.
Botox Alternatives: Coming Soon?
While Dysport is the newest Botox alternative on the block, there are a couple of others in the pipeline. They include PurTox (a Mentor product) and a topical form of Botulinum Toxin developed by Revance Therapeutics. Stay tuned.
Dysport and Botox cost roughly the same amount. Technically, Dysport is cheaper per unit than Botox, but standard treatment requires a higher dose of Dysport than Botox, so the overall cost ends up being in the same ballpark. Both anti-wrinkle therapies cost about $300 to $500 per treatment.
Choose a Qualified Facial Plastic Surgeon
Whether you choose Botox, Dysport or another injectable, make sure the injector has experience with the specific product. Dysport should be administered in an appropriate setting (such as a doctor's office or a medical spa) using sterile instruments.
To view a comparison chart explaining the pros and cons of all available injectables, please click here.