A new injectable wrinkle relaxer called Xeomin was recently FDA-approved and is expected to arrive at doctors’ offices across the U.S. by late September 2010.
What is Xeomin?
Developed by German pharmaceutical company Merz, Xeomin is a new formulation of the botulinum type A neurotoxin that has been used to treat neuromuscular conditions, as well as forehead wrinkles and frown lines, for years.
Currently, Xeomin is FDA-approved only for therapeutic use in treating neuromuscular conditions, such as cervical dystonia and blepharospasm, whereas Botox and Dysport are approved for both therapeutic and cosmetic indications. However, now that Xeomin is FDA-approved, it may be used for any medical purpose, including off-label cosmetic treatment.
Used in Europe since 2008, Xeomin works by temporarily paralyzing muscles that cause facial expressions and neuromuscular conditions, thereby reducing dynamic wrinkles, or expression lines, and calming tense or spastic muscles.
Botox cost unlikely to drop
If the April 2009 launch of Botox’s first-ever competitor Dysport serves as any indication, it is likely that the per-unit price for Xeomin injections will be similar to prices for Botox.
Many physicians and consumers had hoped that once Botox was forced to compete against other wrinkle-relaxing injectables that it would drive prices down, however this has yet to occur, a reality that Xeomin’s launch probably will not change.
Xeomin vs. Botox vs. Dysport
When compared to Botox and Dysport, Xeomin’s botulinum type A formulation may have the advantage when it comes to treating neuromuscular conditions. Xeomin is free of complexing proteins, so the higher doses necessary for therapeutic treatment can be given without resulting in antibody formation.
Xeomin’s advantage will probably not extend to cosmetic uses, as the doses needed for cosmetic injection are so small antibody formation isn’t really a risk that needs to be avoided.
In fact, some believe that Xeomin’s tendency to migrate or spread beyond the injection site might make Botox and Dysport better choices for cosmetic wrinkle treatment, as neurotoxin migration can result in unwanted muscle relaxation, which causes side effects like droopy eyelids or a crooked smile.
For the time being, it is best not to put much stock in speculation regarding the merits and shortcomings of Xeomin until the product can be further studied following its U.S. launch. Only science can prove Xeomin’s worth in cosmetic medicine.