TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary industry-funded research suggests that a gel based on the active ingredient of the injectable Botox wrinkle treatment could help reduce the lines around the eyes known as crow's feet -- without the pain of needles.
The effects of the gel, which uses botulinum toxin, last for about four months, comparable to that produced by Botox injections, the researchers said.
The new study is encouraging since it showed that the gel "noticeably softened crow's feet," said study author Dr. Michael Kane, a plastic surgeon at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City. He has served as an investigator and consultant to Revance Therapeutics of Mountain View, Calif., the gel maker that has been trying to develop a Botox alternative for several years.
There are several caveats, he pointed out. It's not clear how much the treatment would cost, whether it would work better than injected Botox or when it might be available.
The gel is "not commercialized, it's not approved," Kane said, noting the research is part of a phase II clinical trial. "No one is going to be running to the doctor and getting this until phase III studies are done and the FDA rules."
Botox -- produced, like the gel, from the botulinum toxin -- weakens or paralyzes muscles or nerves. In targeted injections, cosmetic plastic surgeons use small doses of it to smoothe facial wrinkles.
Botox treatment can be painful and cost hundreds of dollars, however, and may result in "the appearance of a 'frozen,' insincere smile," according to the study abstract. And Botox injections can cause bruising, said Dr. Seth Thaller, chief of the Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
A pain-free, less expensive wrinkle treatment would likely boost the field of non-invasive cosmetic sur
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