Written by Karen Vieira, PhD MSM
Dysport, also known by ‘Reloxin,’ is a cosmetic injection used to treat facial wrinkles. Similar to Botox, it contains a diluted version of the botulinum toxin. Dysport is injected to relax facial muscles, smoothing the wrinkles caused by movement of these muscles. This is a popular treatment for frown lines, laugh lines, and other facial folds.
What is Dysport?
When it comes to having a more youthful look, there are options that don’t involve surgery. The most widely used such option is the use of injectable botulinum toxin treatments – which some people may know of as “Botox” –to treat facial lines and wrinkles. Among the industry leaders in these injectable products is Dysport from Galderma.
Dysport uses the natural bacterial compound botulinum toxin A (abobotulinumtoxinA), the same active ingredient found in Botox. Dysport differs from Botox in that it is more dilute and has a slightly more rapid onset of action. However, both products produce similar results and last about the same duration.
Dysport is injected to relax facial muscles, smoothing the wrinkles caused by these muscles.
Dysport is FDA-approved for improving the appearance of moderate to severe glabellar lines (also known as “frown lines,” the wrinkles that occur between the eyebrows).
Dysport is also used for medical purposes, such as treating:
- Muscle spasticity
- Cervical dystonia
Some facial wrinkles are caused by the muscles under the skin exerting too much tension on the skin, thereby creating creases. When we are younger, our skin is supple and elastic enough to remain smooth and even despite the pull of these muscles. However, as we age and our skin loses its elasticity, the effects of these muscles produce creases and wrinkles.
Dysport works by weakening or paralyzing these muscles, thereby releasing the wrinkle-causing tension on the skin.
Dysport is primarily used for the treatment of moderate to severe glabellar lines, which are the vertical lines located between your eyebrows. This is its only FDA-approved cosmetic use. However, Dysport is sometimes used “off-label” (without FDA approval) for the treatment of forehead lines and “crow’s feet” in the corners of the eye (the lateral canthus).
Dysport is not meant for cosmetic use in people over 65.
Not all facial lines and wrinkles that come with age are caused by the muscles under the skin. Some are caused by loose skin, loss of fat tissue under the skin, gravity, and loss of the structures that support skin (such as the collagen and elastin matrix under the skin). Dysport is not effective for these kinds of aging changes.
You should not have a Dysport treatment if you are allergic to cow’s milk, or have a rash or infection at the injection site.
You should not have a Dysport treatment if you have a neuromuscular disease, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Dysport injections are performed in a doctor’s office, and no anesthesia is required. However, some injectors may use ice to numb the area, or may offer a topical or local anesthetic. Treatment takes only about 10-30 minutes.
After carefully measuring the amount of solution to be injected, the doctor then injects the Dysport into the targeted facial muscle using a thin needle.
Depending on the area being treated, smoothing the wrinkle may require a series of 3 to 5 injections; the spacing and amount of solution injected into each treatment location depends on the desired results.
After the doctor has completed the injections you are free to leave the office immediately.
Although Dysport injections are a non-invasive alternative to surgery, the procedure is not without risks. Dysport treatments may have side effects, which your healthcare professional should discuss with you during your consultation.
The most common adverse reactions following glabellar injections with Dysport are:
- Drooping eyelids (ptosis)
- Injection site pain, redness, swelling
- Runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat
- Upper respiratory tract infection (such as the common cold or a sinus infection)
- Blood in the urine
- Eyelid swelling
While rare, Dysport – like other botulinum toxin products – may spread from the site of injection to other parts of the body. This may cause serious and even life threatening side effects, such as:
- Muscle weakness in areas other than the treated skin
- Double vision
- Generalized muscle weakness
- Difficulty swallowing, speaking or breathing
- Urinary incontinence
- Allergic reaction (itching, hives, chest tightness, severe swelling)
Dysport injections are known as a “lunchtime procedure” because you can usually return to your daily activities immediately after a treatment. Ice can be applied to reduce any bruising or swelling.
A few precautions are appropriate for the rest of the day after having a Dysport treatment:
- Do not lie down for four hours on treatment area
- Do not massage or apply heat to the area treated
- Avoid activities that cause flushing (such as sitting in a hot tub, exercising, or drinking alcohol)
The results of a Dysport treatment are not immediate. Results begin to appear 3-5 days after the injections, with maximum results taking up to two weeks.
The results usually last for 3-4 months.
The Dysport product usually costs around $4 to $8 per “unit,” which is the basic unit of measure of botulinum toxin products. Botox, by contrast, costs about $10 to $20 per unit.
However, because Dysport is more dilute than Botox, it takes about 2½-3 units of Dysport to get the same effect as 1 unit of Botox. For example, it takes approximately 50-60 units of Dysport to treat glabellar lines.
On average, the total cost of Dysport treatments will be around $400 to $800 depending on several factors, such as:
- The amount of Dysport product used
- The number of areas injected
- Your geographic area
- The skill level and fee schedule of the injector
Cosmetic injections are seldom covered by health insurance. However, many doctors offer financing options and flexible payment plans to make this treatment more affordable. Many also offer treatment plans so that follow-up treatments are less costly.
- Galderma USA. (2019). Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA) [Product page]. Retrieved from https://www.dysportusa.com/#isi-link
- Galderma USA. (2019). Highlights of prescribing information: Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA) for injection. Retrieved from https://www.galderma.com/us/sites/g/files/jcdfhc341/files/2019-04/Dysport-PI.pdf?_ga=2.209958358.2135338069.1573589491-1215200982.1573589491
- Samizadeh, S., & De Boulle, K. (2017). Botulinum neurotoxin formulations: Overcoming the confusion. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, 11, 273-287. Retrieved from https://www.dovepress.com/botulinum-neurotoxin-formulations-overcoming-the-confusion-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-CCID