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Botox for medical purposes and Breastfeeding

Botox injections are used for many medical purposes including migraine, anal fissures. The amount of botox getting into milk is low based on the research on one mother who caught botulism from eating fermented salmon eggs. She continued to breastfeed. No botulinum toxin or botulism was found in the breastmilk or the baby. The doses that are used medically are far lower than that which would have caused the mother’s botulism so the amount in breastmilk is assumed to be too low to produce adverse effects.

Hale also comments that when Botox is injected into the muscle, it produces a partial chemical denervation resulting in paralysis of the muscle. When injected properly, and directly into the muscle, the toxin does not enter the systemic circulation. Thus levels in maternal plasma, and milk are very unlikely. Waiting a few hours for dissipation of any toxin would all but eliminate any risk to the infant. Also, avoid use of generic or unknown sources of botulinum toxin, as some are known to produce significant plasma levels in humans. (Hale TW Medications and Mothers Milk online version accessed Feb 2024)

In February 2024 a study of 4 mothers was published https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpsam.2023.0326

Objective: To detect the presence of botulinum toxin in breast milk from lactating subjects treated with facial botulinum toxin injections, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Methods: For this pilot study, lactating women were injected with standardized facial botulinum toxin type A (BTXA) (range 40–92 U). Collected breast milk samples over 5 days were analyzed for the presence of botulinum toxin. Exclusion criteria included (1) lactating women still using their breast milk for their infant, (2) muscular disorders, (3) any medication that could interfere with neuromuscular function, (4) uncontrolled systemic disease, (5) pregnant, and (6) neuromodulator injection in the past 90 days.

Results: Four lactating women were recruited. Eight samples had no BTXA detected, whereas 8 of the 16 total had detectable amounts, which were well below the reported lethal oral dose for an infant.

Conclusion of the authors: Although the exclusion of lactating women from receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin injections is out of an abundance of caution to the theoretical risk to the infant, this study helps support the notion that facial botulinum toxin injections do not warrant an interruption in breastfeeding. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed.

Hudson C, Wilson P, Lieberman D, Mittelman H, and Parikh S. Analysis of Breast Milk Samples in Lactating Women After Undergoing Botulinum Toxin Injections for Facial Rejuvenation: A Pilot Study.Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine.ahead of print

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