The US Food and Drug Administration released a new document on August 5 to help biopharmaceutical manufacturers streamline the process of developing anti-wrinkle products that contain Botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox.
The document comes as a result of the increased demand for cosmetic anti-aging treatments, specifically facial lines and wrinkles. The guidelines outlined by the FDA are meant to assist the ease of getting new Botox products from the development stage to the market, since injecting Botulinum toxin is one of the most common procedures used to reduce the visibility of wrinkles.
“With the economy picking up, disposable incomes have started to grow again, and since appearance is a high priority for many people, Botox treatments are quickly gaining popularity,” says Dr. Janis P. Campbell, Dermatologist at Laser Rejuvenation Clinic & Spa of Calgary. “Plus, particularly around this time of year, we see many moms wanting to look their best while waiting to pick their kids up at school.”
The guidance document is titled “Upper Facial Lines: Developing Botulinum Toxin Drug Products,” and it’s more specifically aimed at botox products that target wrinkles in the upper facial region. This includes the temporary reduction of glabellar lines and lateral canthal lines.
According to the FDA document, the most important part of botox drug development is discovering a dosage that’s safe for treatment recipients. Botulinum can be extremely effective in reducing visible signs of age, but when administered incorrectly or with the wrong dosage, it can be highly dangerous to patients. Botulinum toxin is a powerful neurotoxin that can cause paralysis and botulism if used incorrectly.
Developers should also consider other safety concerns when developing botox products, including how far the toxin spreads and whether or not the people for performing the procedure are at risk for accidental injection. Creating a delivery system that’s safe for the people performing and receiving treatment should be a crucial early step in creating a good botox product.
The FDA document recommends that botox developers conduct at least two “adequate and well-controlled trials” to fully assess the safety of their product, as well as it’s efficacy for cosmetic use. These trials should feature input from the patients receiving the procedure as well as quantitative data.
When selecting patients, developers should choose consumers who are likely or expected to use the drug once it’s released, and waivers can be requested for pediatric testing since the use of botox on babies is unlikely. The goals and procedures of each study should be discussed with the FDA prior to implementation.