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Frankly, we’d be worried if anyone told us they were going to inject botulinum toxin – the same toxin that causes food poisioning – into our body. However, that doesn’t stop many people from choosing Botox and Myobloc for therapeutic, as well as purely cosmetic reasons. What many of these people don’t know is that those injections could kill them.

Public Citizen has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to immediately ramp up its warnings to doctors and patients about the risk of the toxin spreading to other parts of the body — with serious, sometimes fatal, consequences.

There are some legitimate reasons that a doctor might prescribe Botox, such as for the treatment of some nervous and muscular ailments. But most cosmetic uses of Botox are likely for pure vanity — and most of those uses are unapproved by the FDA.

The FDA needs to get the word out to doctors and patients that they should be watching out for the first onset of bad reactions, such as dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, slurred speech, drooping eyelids and muscle weakness.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group looked at the FDA’s statistics and found in the last 10 years, there were 180 reported cases of people getting seriously ill from their Botox injections — including 16 deaths. Multiply those numbers by 10 because the vast majority of bad reactions go unreported to the FDA.

Read Public Citizen’s petition to the FDA.