BOTOX alternative may mean fewer wrinkles for less cash

Dr. Marc Salzman
Dr. Marc Salzman
Lynda Pearson
Lynda Pearson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new alternative to BOTOX is hitting the market with some potentially big perks, but the one that will likely turn the most heads is price.

Xeomin was released in the United States early November, so doctors and patients are just now getting a feel for its effect. It's reportedly similar to the already proven products on the market, BOTOX and Dysport, lasting around 90 days. But with added competition, Louisville surgeon Dr. Marc Salzman believes it could bring a lower price tag for America's number one wrinkle fighting injections.

At Dr. Salzman's office, Lydia Pearson gets routine injections of neurotoxins. She started with BOTOX seven years ago, and then turned to Dysport.

"I would get people asking me, Oh are you angry or are you in a bad mood, do you have a headache? Because I tend to scowl," Lydia said.

Now, seven years after starting the injections the scowl lines are no longer an issue. Lydia is faithful to her wrinkle fix. She is the first with Dr. Salzman to try Xeomin.

"It's the same as BOTOX, but it's a naked protein," Dr. Salzman explained.

Which means there are no additives unlike BOTOX when he says has what's called a carrier protein.

"One of the arguments is if you have a protein that's attached to it can you develop either an immunity to it because you have antibodies against that protein," Salzman said.

An immunity that could mean less wrinkle-easing response, but Dr. Salzman said it doesn't mean that it is safer.

"That's what the company will tell you," said Dr. Salzman. "There's no immune complex problems, but it's not like there are zillions of people walking around saying I'm immune to BOTOX."

Lydia, however, did notice less effect after a numerous BOTOX injections. It lasted less than three months. But with Dysport she got up to four months of effect. However it's the price tag that may be the real selling point.

"I don't think it will be until April for the national release when everybody can use it, then we'll know if the price point is really going to be significantly less," Salzman said. It's really what the market will bear, but with any competition he feels, "that's going to lower the price for our patients."

Lydia is happy with the results, erasing wrinkles she said much like BOTOX. But the jury for her is out until that price is set and she knows for sure how long Xeomin fights the unwanted scowl.

For now, any of the products will cost between $250 and $500 depending on the amount of product and location it's used.

The makers of BOTOX contacted WAVE 3 regarding our story and the claims of a "naked protein" in Xeomin. In a statement, spokesperson Kellie Lao said:

"Per the FDA, all proteins like botulinum toxins carry a potential for developing antibodies which contributes to resistance. While the critical factors for antibody development are not well understood, it's believed that antibodies develop against the core toxin, not the toxin's accessory proteins. In nature, the botulinum core neurotoxin associates with accessory proteins to help protect the core toxin against thermal and pH stress. BOTOX Cosmetic's protective proteins are not expected to contribute to the development of antibodies and resistance. And according to BOTOX Cosmetic's product labeling, the risk for antibody formation may be minimized by injecting the lowest effective dose given at the longest feasible intervals between injections."

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