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  • By Patty Kovacs, Editor-at-Large, Makemeheal.com

    As the number of plastic surgery procedures in the United States decline with the tightening economy, a new secret weapon in the war on wrinkles may soon become the hottest age-defying injectable treatment. Called Reloxin, this new injectable may just be the affordable version of Botox to help bailout people who cannot afford the original. Can Reloxin be as effective as Botox? Possibly. Will it be cheaper than Botox? Likely.

    Presently awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, Reloxin is suggested by many as the up-and-coming rival to Botox Cosmetic to become the newest wrinkle fighting injectable to work magic on lines and furrows of the face, particularly the forehead area.

    Like Botox, Reloxin (Clostridium botulinum toxin type A-hemagglutinin complex) is an injectable form of botulinum toxin Type A. Also like Botox, small doses of the Reloxin are injected into targeted wrinkle-causing muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting and effectively reducing appearance of wrinkles. But with Reloxin, there is a greater diffusion of the toxin from pontiff injection, quite desirable in certain areas like the forehead.

    Reloxin is now approved in 23 countries outside the United States to smooth wrinkles and has also been used outside the United States for more than 15 years to under the trade name Dysport to treat neurological disorders.

    Reloxin, Plastic Surgery

    Reloxin is currently sold outside the U.S. by Ipsen SA, based in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, outside Paris. In 2006, Ipsen granted Medicis the rights to develop, distribute and commercialize Reloxin as a wrinkle treatment in the U.S., Canada and Japan. Medicis is also the company behind the popular hyaluronic acid injectable Restylane.

    “Reloxin is as safe and it works as well as Botox,” says Dr. Ronald Moy from the Moy-Fincher Medical Group for cosmetic and skin surgery in Los Angeles and esteemed professor at University of California, Los Angeles medical school. Having served as lead researcher in a Reloxin study funded by Medicis, Dr. Moy was impressed with the results of the objective study.

    Dr. Moy spoke with Makemeheal.com recently as he shared that he’s quite in favor of Reloxin’s potential to serve the cosmetic injectables market. “Many of our patients were happier and got a more natural look with the use of Reloxin. I think it will be a serious competitor to Botox,” Moy added.

    Reloxin, Cosmetic Surgery

    A team from the Moy-Fincher Medical Group researchers in Los Angeles conducted the study treating 1,200 patients with injections of Reloxin in sites of the forehead area of the face. As many as five treatments were given during the study. Patients were asked to record the effects of the treatment in diaries and were interviewed 7-10 days after treatment. In addition, patients were reexamined two weeks, then 30 days later, and then again each month after treatment. Many patients reported that the drug started working within days after treatment. After a week, up to 95 percent said they had responded to the medication. The study also found that in many cases Reloxin lasted remarkably long term.

    Reloxin, Injectables

    Among the 1,052 patients who completed the 13-month study there were 2,838 adverse events among 880 patients. Of these, 28 percent were probably related to the treatment. These included problems at the injection site, nervous system disorders such as headache and eye problems including ptosis, a drooping of the eyelid or brow. Only one patient withdrew from study due to the side effects of the drug, the researchers say.

    Another possible benefit of this new wrinkle relaxer is cost. Reloxin may turn out to be more cost effective than Botox Cosmetic. Medicis has made no decisions on pricing but sources say Reloxin may possibly be priced as much as 15% lower than Botox which will allow it to take a significant share of the billion dollar wrinkle relaxer market. At a recent conference of the American Academy of Dermatology, Reloxin had almost all participants abuzz with anticipation and excitement. Word in plastic surgery circles is that it will at the very least drive down the cost of Botox because of the competition. I’m one for a little ‘healthy’ competition in this market.

    Reloxin, Botox

    For years, Allergan has monopolized the cosmetic and therapeutic market of botulinum toxin type A, taking full advantage of their 83% worldwide monopoly by raising the price of Botox almost biannually. Botox sales for 2009 are expected to be between $1.15 billion and $1.19 billion. Last year’s revenue was $1.3 billion, about half from cosmetic sales. Botox has long been such a U.S. mainstay of cosmetic medicine to reduce forehead wrinkles and frown lines that consumers’ conversational use of the word “Botox” is both a noun and a verb by regular ‘Botox-ers’.

    The arrival of a less costly injectable such as Reloxin during the worse recession in decades is timely, as some price-conscious Botoxers will likely shift to using Reloxin if the results are comparable.

    Approval for Reloxin is still hush-hush, but its corporate sponsors, Medicis Pharmaceutical of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ipsen of Paris, have refiled their application for Food and Drug Administration approval to market this new wrinkle-fighting injectable drug in the United States.

    Reloxin, Botox

    Since less quantity is required of Reloxin, the conversion rate of units will initially be sort of like learning a new language. Don’t look to convert units to units, rather work with a trusted physician to learn the required units of Reloxin for your body.

    Remember, always carefully research and check the medical credentials and Board Certification of any physician or surgeon you select for cosmetic aesthetic enhancement.

    Patty Kovacs, Make Me Heal Editor

    Patty Kovacs, Editor-At-Large at Makemeheal.com, is a published author and beauty expert. Patty is the Executive Producer/Host of The Health and Beauty Revolution Show on wsRadio. Her 800+ interviews include over 450 New York Times best-selling authors.

    See Patty’s Websites: www.pattykovacevich.com