What is Daxxify? What to know about the new alternative to Botox

For the past 20 years, Botox has been the go-to anti-wrinkle treatment for millions of people looking to minimize fine lines around the forehead, eyes, cheekbones, and more. There are three similar injectables – Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau – but none of these drugs, known as neuromodulators, have been able to match the popularity of Botox.

Now some dermatologists say that a new injectable drug called Daxxify, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may change that. This is largely because its anti-wrinkle effects should last longer than other neuromodulators on the market (including Botox, whose effects generally last three to four months). The bottom line: Instead of scheduling injections three or four times a year for maintenance, people who opt for Daxxify may only need two treatments a year, depending on their personal results.

In phase three clinical trials, the researchers tested Daxxify, made by pharmaceutical company Revance Therapeutics, on nearly 2,700 people. They found that approximately 98% of these participants experienced a significant reduction in wrinkles within four weeks of receiving a Daxxify injection. The effects appeared quickly, usually within two days of treatment, and lasted an average of six months. For a small percentage of people, results lasted up to nine months.

Here’s what you need to know about Daxxify, including how it works, any downsides, and expected cost.

How does Daxxify work, exactly?

Like Botox, when Daxxify is injected into the face, it delivers a botulinum toxin to prevent certain nerve signals from interacting with targeted facial muscles. This means that the muscles are temporarily unable to move or contract, thus releasing the lines and wrinkles. Although the muscles are not functioning as they normally do, they are not actually paralyzed, George Bitar, MD, FACSa board-certified plastic surgeon in Washington, DC, tells SELF.

In addition to having longer lasting effects compared to other neuromodulators, Daxxify’s formula uses peptides, which are short chains of compounds called amino acids; that makes it the only neuromodulator free of human serum albumin (a protein found in human blood) or animal-derived components, a Revance spokesperson told SELF.

Available neuromodulators are also commonly used to alleviate certain health conditions, including migraine, TMJ-related jaw painand hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). So far, Daxxify has only received FDA approval for cosmetic treatments, but Dr. Bitar expects it could be used for similar off-label purposes. “I would use Daxxify for the same things I’ve used Botox and Dysport for the past 20 years,” he says. That said, it’s unclear if Daxxify results would also last longer for non-cosmetic issues.

What are the possible drawbacks of Daxxify?

For a drug to receive FDA approval, it must be considered safe and effective. However, as with other neuromodulators, you may experience potential side effects– such as headache, pain and swelling at the injection site, droopy eyelids and facial asymmetry – after receiving an injection of Daxxify.

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