An Assembly panel on Thursday approved a measure sponsored by Assembly members Cleopatra Tucker and Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. that would bar physicians from administering Botox to anyone under 18 years of age.
“There has been a great deal of news lately pertaining to children, mostly girls, using Botox injections for aesthetic reasons,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “By regulating the injections doctors and dentists can administer in New Jersey, we can help protect children from the dangers associated with this procedure.”
The sponsors underscored the need for the bill, pointing to a rec0ent incident that made headlines when a California mother condoned and provided Botox injections for her eight year old daughter. Nationally, over 12,000 Botox injections were administered to teens in 2009.
The bill (A-3838) would require the State Board of Medical Examiners to create regulations restricting the administration of botulinum toxin, or Botox, to anyone 18 years of age or younger for cosmetic purposes, except in cases where the use of Botox is deemed medically necessary by a physician.
The regulations must require a physician to document in the patient’s medical record the medical necessity of administering botulinum toxin to a patient who is 18 years of age or younger.
“Botox has been linked in some cases to adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death, following treatment of a variety of conditions using a wide range of doses,” said Conaway (D-Burlington/Camden). “It is dangerous enough for adults. Children certainly shouldn’t be subjected to this procedure.”
In April 2009, the FDA updated its mandatory boxed warning cautioning that the effects of botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism. Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum under anaerobic conditions.
In January 2009, the Canadian government warned that Botox can have the adverse effect of spreading to other parts of the body, which could cause muscle weakness, swallowing difficulties, pneumonia, speech disorders and breathing problems. Several cases of death have also been linked to the use of fake Botox.
Just this March, regulations were adopted by the Board of Dentistry to prohibit dentists from administering Botox injections.
The bill cleared the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of 10-1. The provisions of the bill would take effect on the first day of the seventh month after being signed into law.