Many of our patients have heard of Dysport or Botox (abobutulinum toxin A and onobotulinum toxin A, respectively) but are not clear on the difference between the two cosmetic products. Both of these FDA approved products are composed of an isolated protein used to relax the muscles of the forehead, glabella, and crows feet. The difference between these two products chemically is minimal, making their use and the results of their use almost identical. In our practice we say “Comparing these two is like comparing Coke and Pepsi”- ie. two great sodas, each with their own brand recognition but in the same category of soft drinks.

The duration of treatment when using botulinum proteins are very similar as well. Typically, Botox and Dysport last approximately 3 months. In some patients we see the product may last slightly longer or slightly shorter, due to our body’s metabolism of the product. Just as one may prefer Coke over Pepsi, many of our patients who have tried both products feel that they like the results of one product over the other.

Here are some differences we do know of: Dysport has slightly quicker onset of action when compared to Botox (2-5 days vs. 4-7 days) and it disperses wider than Botox due to molecular size. The units we use to quantify how much product is needed to treat an area varies as well. Standard treatment of the Glabella can take up to 20 units with Botox, whereas the same correction translates into 45 units of Dysport (1 unit Botox = 2.25 Units Dysport).  Although these numbers can be confusing, the same amount of solution is injected into each site and the outcome is the same.

Below are the muscles we can treat with Dysport or Botox, although other areas can be treated off-label as well.

  • Frontalis muscle: contraction raises the eyebrows and causes horizontal forehead wrinkles. Injection reduces wrinkles but reduces the ability to raise the eyebrows.
  • Corrugator and Procerus muscles: contraction moves the inner eyebrows down and in, causing the so-called 11’s(vertical wrinkles between the eyes). Botox or Dyport injection reduces the wrinkles and may raise the inner two-thirds of the eyebrows.
  • Orbicularis oculi muscle: contraction causes squinting, moving the outer eyebrows down, creating “crow’s feet” wrinkles. Injection will reduce the wrinkles and may raise the outer aspect of the eyebrows.

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