US doctor ‘poisoned’ by Botox

A US doctor was awarded US$15m (A$17.55m) in damages after claiming that anti-wrinkle drug Botox gave her botulism.

Sharla Helton, 48, told a court in Oklahoma that she was forced to sell her medical practice after being poisoned with the rare muscle-paralysing disease, The Sun reports.

“Hopefully people will wake up to the dangers,” she said after the ruling.

“I think a lot of people have been hurt by the product. Maybe now they’ll have the courage to come forward,” her lawyer Ray Chester added.

Botulism is a rare illness caused by bacteria entering the body through wounds or contaminated food. As well as paralysis, it can also cause breathing failure.

Dr Helton, of Oklahoma City, complained of severe side effects after being injected with 50 units of Botox – made from the bacteria – in 2006.

Manufacturers Allergan, who denied negligence, plan to appeal.

They argued she never had botulism and said: “It’s inconsistent with scientific evidence. Botox doesn’t cause botulism.”

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