Botox Versus Dysport

I think by now we’re all familiar with Botox, an injectable that relaxes the muscles that cause wrinkles such as frown line, forehead lines, and crows feet. It’s made by a company called Allergan, has been around for over 20 years, and has an extremely high safety and efficacy profile.

In April of 2009 a new Botox competitor was approved by the FDA called Dysport. Dysport is marketed by a company called Medicis (also the company who makes Restylane), and although it’s new here in the US, it has been available in Europe for a long time. You may also have heard of Dysport as Reloxin, which was its former name.

In this new Dysport versus Botox world, I get a lot of questions about how they are different and which I prefer, so I thought I would share some Dysport and Botox thoughts with all of my SkinTour readers!

Overall Botox and Dysport are very similar. Both are a type of botulinum type A used to relax the muscles that cause frown lines and other over active muscles of the face, like forehead lines and crows feet. I tell my patients that it’s like comparing apples to apples. There’s a difference between a Fuji apple and a Gala apple, but they are still both apples. Dysport is a smaller-sized molecule so its unit measurement is different than Botox.

Both have been in use for years (Dysport in Europe only until recently) and have a high safety profile, both can be used on other parts of the face and body, and both Dysport and Botox must be injected every 3-6 months. Dysport may be slightly less expensive in some offices, but it depends on the office and, of course, the total amount needed to accomplish your goals. Both show similar efficacy and side effects, and in most double-blind clinical studies both the patient and the doctor were unable to tell the results apart.

Differences between Botox and Dysport

There has been much discussion amongst physicians about the differences between Botox and Dysport, or IF there is any difference. Here are the main differences:

– Dysport may not last quite as long (duration of efficacy).  This is still being debated and studied;

– Dysport has a slightly quicker onset (2-5 days vs 4-7 days for Botox)

– Dysport diffuses more (i.e., spreads to a wider area).  This is an advantage in some areas of the face and a disadvantage in others;

– You need more Dysport to get the same result as Botox. This is being studied and debated still.

Some physicians are happy that there is finally a Botox competitor, as Botox did monopolize the market for a long time. But the appearance of Dysport hasn’t brought pricing down as some thought it might. There are 3-5 other similar anti-wrinkle products in the FDA pipeline, so within the next few years we’ll have even more alternatives to Botox available. I view competition as a generally good thing as long as the quality of the products are similar. Safety is the key issue, and it remains to be seen if the new products can match the safety of Botox and Dysport.

We do live in a society of brand recognition, and as Botox has been available for much longer in the US, many people are more comfortable using what they know. Allergan has also spent thousands more in direct-to-consumer advertising with everything from TV commercials to print ads in major magazines.

Both Botox and Dysport currently have rebates available from their manufacturer. The program from Allergan is called Brilliant Distinctions and the Medicis program Dysport Challenge. Both rebate programs can be halted or changed by the manufacturer at any time.

Ultimately, it is far more important WHO is injecting your Botox or Dysport, than which of these two products you are using. Botox/Dysport mistakes and bad results are made by people, not the product. Please meet with an experienced cosmetic dermatologist prior to choosing a wrinkle-removing injectable and to discuss alternatives to Botox.

Don’t forget, injection technique is more important than the product injected!

To find a good Botox or Dysport doctor, see Dr. Irwin’s list of recommended cosmetic dermatologists

See Dr. Irwin’s Guide to Botox for more information on relaxing frown lines, forehead wrinkles, and crows feet

See Dr. Irwin performing a Botox injection on video

Learn more about treatment options for Forehead Issues, including frown lines and forehead lines or wrinkles 

Learn more about treatment options for Eye Issues, including crow’s feet

See Dr. Irwin’s expert answers to other reader’s questions on Botox versus Dysport:
What’s the difference between Botox and Dysport?
A problem with Dysport- will this heaviness go away?