CDC Investigating Harmful Reactions to Counterfeit Botox

Media Alert

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 15, 2024
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC investigation notice has been posted regarding harmful reactions in people who received counterfeit or otherwise mishandled botox: [Harmful Reactions Linked to Counterfeit “Botox” or Mishandled Botulinum Toxin Injections | CDC]


Key Points: 

·       As of April 15, 2024, CDC has received reports of 19 people in 9 states who experienced harmful reactions after receiving counterfeit botulinum toxin injections (commonly known as “botox”) or injections administered by unlicensed or untrained individuals and/or in non-healthcare settings, such as homes or spas. 

·       Nine people have been hospitalized and four were treated with botulism antitoxin because symptoms were consistent with possible spread of toxin. No deaths have been reported. 

·       Many of the products being investigated are counterfeit or were administered in non-healthcare settings, such as homes and spas, or by an unlicensed or untrained individual. Questions regarding product investigation should be directed to FDA. 

·       CDC, FDA, and state and local health departments are working together to investigate these reactions.  


What You Should Do: 

·       Only get injections of FDA-approved botulinum toxin from licensed and trained professionals in healthcare settings.  

·       If you need an injection of botulinum toxin for a medical condition, your doctor will choose the safest dose.   

·       If you get an injection of botulinum toxin for cosmetic reasons, go to a licensed and trained professional and get the injection in a medical or licensed setting.

o   Your state might have a license look-up tool you can check to see if a provider or setting has the appropriate license. 

o   Ask if the product is approved by FDA and obtained from a reliable source. 

o   If in doubt, don’t get the injection. 

·       If you have symptoms of botulism, such as trouble swallowing or breathing, seek medical attention immediately. See a doctor or go to the emergency room. Do not wait.  


Symptoms of Botulism: 

·       Some localized effects can be expected following botulinum toxin injection. Your provider will explain these to you.  

·       More concerning botulism symptoms might include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are typically followed by muscle weakness that progresses over hours to days. See a doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you experience these symptoms.  

·       Without treatment, botulism can lead to paralysis, respiratory failure, or death.   


If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department. 


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