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Malaysian Muslims Must Manage Misfigured Mugs

Did my alliteration catch your attention? Well, this BBC article alerted me to the recent National Fatwa Council's decision to ban Botox. Malaysia's top Muslim cleric council decided that Botox contained prohibited substances, including those derived from pigs. In any case, I think wrinkles give character to one's face...

This is unfortunate, with all of the benefits botulinum toxin (Botox) is providing other than for cosmetic improvement. Some medical conditions causing ongoing spasm of muscles and chronic pain have recent case reports of patients experiencing improvement. These are "off-label" uses of Botox, meaning that the FDA has not approved using this medication yet for these purposes.

I think the most important thing to check before receiving any therapy, is to ask your physician what's the evidence for benefit from that treatment. Your doctor will appreciate it since many patients don't take the effort to understand the risks and benefits, and are sometimes disappointed at the outcome.

I'm usually happy when a patient comes in with a pile of internet printouts - it lets me know their interest and background knowledge. I even send my patients home with web links from Healthline to do additional reading. Some of my patients can read these using their Personal Health Record account our our visit, but more on that another time.

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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.