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Aesthet Surg J. 2017 May 1;37(suppl_1):S20-S31. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjw282.

Key Parameters for the Use of AbobotulinumtoxinA in Aesthetics: Onset and Duration.

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Voluntary Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Miami Leonard Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.
Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Director and Founder of Toxin Science Limited, Wrexham, UK.
Adjunct Professor at the Botulinum Research Center, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, MA, USA.


Time to onset of response and duration of response are key measures of botulinum toxin efficacy that have a considerable influence on patient satisfaction with aesthetic treatment. However, there is no overall accepted definition of efficacy for aesthetic uses of botulinumtoxinA (BoNT-A). Mechanical methods of assessment do not lend themselves to clinical practice and clinicians rely instead on assessment scales such as the Frontalis Activity Measurement Standard, Frontalis Rating Scale, Wrinkle Severity Scale, and Subject Global Assessment Scale, but not all of these have been fully validated. Onset of activity is typically seen within 5 days of injection, but has also been recorded within 12 hours with abobotulinumtoxinA. Duration of effect is more variable, and is influenced by parameters such as muscle mass (including the effects of age and sex) and type of product used. Even when larger muscles are treated with higher doses of BoNT-A, the duration of effect is still shorter than that for smaller muscles. Muscle injection technique, including dilution of the toxin, the volume of solution injected, and the positioning of the injections, can also have an important influence on onset and duration of activity. Comparison of the efficacy of different forms of BoNT-A must be made with the full understanding that the dosing units are not equivalent. Range of equivalence studies for abobotulinumtoxinA (Azzalure; Ipsen Limited, Slough UK/Galderma, Lausanne CH/Dysport, Ipsen Biopharm Limited, Wrexham UK/Galderma LP, Fort Worth, TX) and onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox; Allergan, Parsippany, NJ) have been conducted, and results indicate that the number of units of abobotulinumtoxinA needs to be approximately twice as high as that of onabotulinumtoxinA to achieve the same effect. An appreciation of the potential influence of all of the parameters that influence onset and duration of activity of BoNT-A, along with a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the face and potency of doses, are essential to tailoring treatment to individual patient needs and expectations.

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