Efficacy of reconstituted and stored botulinum toxin type A: An electrophysiologic and visual study in the auricular muscle of the rabbit

Mark A. Jabor, Richa Kaushik, Payam Shayani, Amado Ruiz-Razura, Bruce K. Smith, Kaiulani W. Morimoto, Benjamin E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Once botulinum toxin type A is reconstituted, the manufacturer recommends that it be used in approximately 4 hours. As a result, a significant amount of this costly drug is often discarded because it is not completely used in the recommended period. The purpose of the present study was to compare fresh versus stored reconstituted botulinum toxin type A for (1) initial potency, (2) duration of action, and (3) bacterial colonization. Using a rabbit model, 20 New Zealand White rabbits were divided into four groups (I to IV). All rabbits had an injection of 2.5 U of reconstituted botulinum toxin into the right anterior auricular muscle. The first group was injected with botulinum toxin type A that was freshly reconstituted and served as the control. The second, third, and fourth groups were injected with botulinum toxin type A that had been reconstituted and stored for 2, 6, and 12 weeks, respectively, in a conventional freezer. Each rabbit had daily visual evaluation of the ear, with the position of auricle being graded from I to III. In addition, each rabbit had a nerve conduction study performed on the right anterior auricular muscle before injection and every 2 weeks after injection. Amplitude was chosen as the principal variable in the data analysis because it is the best predictor of physiologic changes at the muscle motor unit level. The endpoint of the study was defined as the time at which the nerve conduction studies and the visual inspections returned to baseline, preinjection levels. Botulinum toxin type A was also cultured before injection into each group. Overall, the nerve conduction data revealed a trend with a faster recovery (return to baseline) with the stored botulinum toxin. Groups IV and III returned to baseline first, followed by groups II and I. However, there was no significant difference among the groups at 2 and 4 weeks after injection, indicating that initial potency was unchanged. The differences between the groups became significant (p < 0.05) at 6 weeks and onward, suggesting that the duration was affected. Group I (fresh botulinum toxin) and group II (toxin stored for 2 weeks) had comparable outcomes and were not significantly different at any time period. Under visual inspection, the mean recovery time for each group was as follows: group IV, 5.4 weeks; group III, 7.0 weeks; group II, 6.75 weeks; and group I, 7.80 weeks. The results showed significance (p <0.05) beginning after 3 weeks among some groups. Again, there was an overall quicker trend to return to baseline with the longer storage of the botulinum toxin (groups III and IV). These results support the authors' conduction study data, which suggest that the initial potency is not affected but the duration of action is. Again, groups I and II had comparable results. Microbiology cultures showed no growth of either aerobic or anaerobic bacteria at 7 days. In conclusion, using the rabbit model, it seems that reconstituted and stored botulinum toxin type A has the same initial potency but the duration of action is affected sometime after 2 weeks of storage. No bacterial contamination was associated with storing unpreserved reconstituted botulinum toxin type A for up to 12 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2419-2426
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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