"I had Botox for wrinkles in the forehead and to lift the eyebrows," Alyssa (not her real name) says. "The next day I woke up and my eyebrows were beginning to fall. Three days later they were getting really nasty and within a week they had come down quite a bit, to the point where I couldn't see properly, couldn't read and my eyelids couldn't open properly.
"I went back to the doctor, who covered his shock and dismay by saying he must have put in too much. So, he injected more Botox in another place to raise the eyebrows back up. I went home and later that day I got a severe headache and upper backache that just wouldn't go away. A couple of days later the symptoms progressed to where I had trouble swallowing. That was really scary. I had to sleep sitting up because I was afraid to lie down in case fluids went down the wrong way [into her lungs].
"That was bad enough. Then, I was getting some ringing in my ears, which I still have right now. I have blurry vision and an extremely dry mouth and nose. My nose is not producing mucus anymore, so I have to use saline solution to keep it moist. I am putting eye drops in my eyes 20 times a day because my tear ducts are paralyzed, which is also quite dangerous.
"I have some slight breathing problems. My whole body feels depressed—it feels heavy. I have flu-like symptoms. This has been going on for weeks. I went to a doctor yesterday to get a referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist because this is serious. No one seems to know anything about Botox. The doctor said my symptoms have nothing to do with Botox, but I've done my research. She said that Botox wouldn't migrate but when I asked if she was sure, she said, 'No.' This bothers me: If I hadn't pressed her, I might have thought it was something else.
"I've done research. I know that Botox does, in fact, migrate. It's individual, based on dosage and metabolism and where the injection is given.
"My muscles have also been somewhat spastic—they're not working properly. When I'm speaking right now, it doesn't flow [there is some slight hesitation between her words, almost as though there is a tiny delay in getting each word out]. My symptoms mimic symptoms of botulism poisoning.
"I think the most severe problem was the difficulty swallowing and breathing. The droopy eyelids were bad enough, but the other stuff is really worrying. You feel like you've had a stroke or something. I requested a vision test and now they've told me that my vision is so bad that I cannot drive my car.
"The swallowing has improved and the drooping eyelids have improved, but I'm still not 100 percent. I don't look like me. Apparenty, it will take four to six months for this to wear off. It is better than it was; I'm improved, but not 100 percent by any means. I have virtually all of the bad side effects of Botox, but I was told it was safe and the wonderful effects would last three to six months.
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"I think that there isn't enough information given. The other problem is that people who get Botox won't necessarily talk about the problems. They don't want other people to know they've had Botox. If you've had a problem with it, you need to report it. Get on it. Don't be embarrassed about it."
Patients who have had adverse reactions to Botox are now investigating a possible lawsuit against Allergan, alleging they were not properly warned about the serious side effects of Botox. If you have used Botox and suffered an adverse reaction, you may be eligible to join a lawsuit against Allergan.