Risks

Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible side effects include:

  • Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
  • Headache or flu-like symptoms
  • Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
  • Crooked smile or drooling
  • Eye dryness or excessive tearing

Although very unlikely, it's possible for the effect of botulinum toxin to spread to other parts of the body and cause botulism-like signs and symptoms. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

  • Muscle weakness all over the body
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of bladder control

Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you're pregnant or breast-feeding.

Select your doctor carefully

Botox must be used only under a doctor's care. It's important that injections be placed precisely in order to avoid side effects. Botox therapy can be dangerous if it's administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments.

A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and help determine if it best suits your needs and health.

March 11, 2016
References
  1. Carruthers J, et al. Overview of botulinum toxin for cosmetic injections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 25, 2015.
  2. Botox medication guide. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM176360.pdf. Accessed Nov. 25, 2015.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Spasticity. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  4. Avram MR, et al., eds. Injectables. In: Procedural Dermatology. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015.
  5. FDA approves Botox to treat overactive bladder. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm336101.htm. Accessed Nov. 25, 2015.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Periocular spasm. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  7. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 10, 2015.