Facts Comparing BOTOX VS. DYSPORT

February 8, 2008

I have been injecting BOTOX for the past 9 years to well over 3,500 patients, with a 99% client satisfaction rate. We are currently one of the few PLATINUM level medical providers with Allergan Botox in South Florida. I have personally injected over 550 patients in the past 12 months alone so I have a ton of experience on this topic. In the past 6 months we have been learning more about Dysport, the new injectable treatment for wrinkles. I wanted to update everyone about what Dysport is, and what is the same and different about it versus BOTOX.

Dysport is a new injectable treatment for wrinkles made from the same neurotoxin (botulinum toxin type A) as Botox. Dysport has been used to smooth wrinkles in Europe, South America, and elsewhere for several years. Dysport does now have the approval of the FDA for use in the US and may become popular. Botox is currently the most popular cosmetic procedure in the US.

See our Comparison Chart of BOTOX, Dysport and Xeomin

The differences between Botox and Dysport are actually very small. Both drugs contain the same main ingredient: the botulinum toxin. Like Botox, Dysport temporarily immobilizes the muscles that cause facial wrinkles. The drug specifically targets the glabellar muscles of the forehead—the ones that create frowns. What it’s doing is really blocking the signal between the nerve and the muscle, so when you tell yourself to frown, the muscle really never gets that message.

RISKS- Injected in small amounts, Dysport and Botox offer the same results with the similar side effects, too – such as possible bruising at the site (which I must say very rarely happens when I inject BOTOX to my clients). However, because of the “3 times” more volume required with Dysport compared to BOTOX, Dysport potentially diffuses a bit farther than Botox from the injection point: one to three centimeters compared to Botox’s one centimeter (based on standard reconstitution). This means that fewer injections are needed, but it also means that the health professional doing the injections must be very skilled to ensure that the drug does not spread to nearby muscles and cause eyelid and/or eyebrow drooping or other unwanted side effects. This is always a concern when injecting BOTOX and now a bigger concern with Dysport.

INITIAL RESPONSE AND LONGEVITY – There is another difference in the botulinum toxins as well. Dysport™ seems to have a faster onset, with results beginning to appear within one to seven days of treatment, while Botox takes between three and ten days to become effective. This does vary between patients, however there is no difference in longevity, which is about 3 to 5 months.

COST – Some of my patients’ main concerns is the cost of Dysport compared to Botox. Dysport is approximately 1/3 the cost per unit of Botox; however, it is also 1/3 the strength. This means you will need about three times as many units of Dysport to get the same results as you would with one unit of Botox. As a result, we find that the cost of a Dysport treatment is the about the same as Botox.

PROLONGING THE EFFECTS OF EITHER – The beneficial effects of both Botox and Dysport can be prolonged, sometimes for quite some time longer than the ordinary 3 to 5 month duration, by suggesting that the patient undergo a series of three or four initial treatments, spaced at four month intervals. It seems that the continual presence of the Botox or Dysport in the muscle tissue during that period “teaches” the muscles of facial expression not to contract as actively as they did before treatment. It is this learned “lesson” that is believed responsible for the more prolonged response seen in many people, even after all the toxin has been metabolized away by the body.

In summary, clinically both BOTOX and Dysport stop the muscle from moving when used in appropriate doses. The only perceived advantage of Dysport is that many patients have seen earlier onset (one day on average). However the increased volume could potentially increase the risk around the eyes and eyebrows of eyebrow/eyelid droops. So because of this along with no real cost benefit and BOTOX’s proven record, unless our patient is not getting great results with BOTOX, we are not recommending Dysport as the first option for our patients at this time.


by Erin Owoc, Dermatology Nurse Practitioner  

Erin Owoc, ARNP-C has been practicing cosmetic dermatology for the last 7 years in Florida. Erin can be reached at (954) 680-8330.


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