Are Botox Injections On Their Way Out?
A novel topical gel formulation of botulinum toxin type A is now in the developmental pipeline, and it may expand the range of cosmetic problems that can be tackled with the botulinum toxins. The topical gel, called RT001, is being developed by Revance Pharmaceuticals. It combines botulinum toxin type A with a proprietary carrier peptide that can transport the neurotoxin across the skin all the way down to the musculature. Even without an injection, patients can experience results that are similar to what we see with Botox Cosmetic (onabotulinumtoxinA) or Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA). It is currently being studied for the treatment of crow's feet. The gel is in clinical trials (Phase II) and not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
If the topical gel were eventually to win approval, how might it fit into clinical practice? Certainly some patients dislike needles so much that they would prefer to sit in an office with a gel on their skin for 20 to 30 minutes rather than get a 3-second injection and be on their way. But how many patients fit this profile? Think hyperhidrosis, for example. It would be nice to just rub a gel on and then wipe off using a simple proprietary cleansing procedure instead of injecting someone 25 times in the axilla.
Last year in the United States, 2.8 million injections of neurotoxins were performed, and more than 20,000 practitioners injected Botox. Sales of injectable neurotoxins are forecast to increase by more than 15% annually, according to the literature. This unique, painless product could greatly expand the patient population for wrinkle reduction by offering a highly effective treatment option.