California Public Health Officials Sound Alarm Over Fake Botox Injections That Can Cause Death

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 09, 2024

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials have warned Californians about fake Botox injections that can cause people to get seriously ill — and, in some cases, die.

The CDPH has joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in sounding the alarm over these counterfeit Botox injections, as many Americans have recently become ill thanks to fake Botox.

California Issues Warning

The CDPH released a statement warning people throughout the state to only receive Botox injections from licensed healthcare providers and doctors.

A close-up of a needle with liquid inside it.

Source: Raghavendra V. Konkathi/Unsplash

The department also explained that they’ve seen more people receive fake Botox injections recently, which has increasingly led to hospitalizations and serious illnesses being reported.

Fake Botox on the Rise

The CDPH stated that counterfeit Botox has been discovered in various U.S. states, including California.

A close-up of a doctor injecting Botox in a woman’s face.

Source: Sam Moghadam Khamseh/Unsplash

Fake, or counterfeit, Botox can quickly lead to serious illness or reactions after a person receives these injections. California health officials are trying to combat further hospitalizations by publicly warning Californians away from making this mistake.

Fake Botox Illnesses Increase Throughout the U.S.

Unfortunately, California and the CDC have seen serious illnesses increase thanks to these Botox issues.

Three needles with colored liquid inside on a blue surface.

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Recently, the CDC revealed that fake Botox had led to 22 people becoming sick in 11 different states. One of those states was California. Since these revelations, health officials have declared that a botulism outbreak from Botox was underway.

What the CDPH Is Saying

Dr. Tomas Aragon, a California Public Health Officer, further explained just how serious these fake Botox injections can be, as they can end in death.

A close-up of a woman receiving a Botox injection in her forehead.

Source: Gustavo Fring/Pexels

Aragon stated, “Counterfeit or incorrectly administered Botox, even in small amounts, can result in serious health problems and even death.”

Finding Licensed Professionals

While many people have become sick after receiving counterfeit Botox, California officials are also stating that Botox incorrectly injected can also leave people ill.

A woman receiving a Botox injection in her forehead.

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As a result, they highly recommend that people do their research on all healthcare providers, doctors, and facilities they may use if they’re seeking to have Botox injected. People should not get injections in unlicensed settings.


Do Not Purchase Botox Online

The CDPH also stated that Californians should not purchase Botox online, as it could be counterfeit. If people do not know what to accurately look for, they could unknowingly inject counterfeit Botox bought online into their bodies.

A close-up of a person typing on their laptop.

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Experts have also explained that Botox should never be bought from unlicensed people.


How to Spot Counterfeit Botox

Luckily, the CDPH did clarify how regular people might be able to spot fake Botox — and therefore save their own lives.

A masked and gloved doctor holding up a vial of Botox.

Source: Jonathan Borba/Pexels

AbbVie Inc. is the only manufacturer of real, safe Botox. On its outer packaging, you can find the active ingredient “OnabotulinumtoxinA” labeled. Meanwhile, the fake Botox product has the label “Botulinum Toxin Type A” on its packaging.


Symptoms of Fake Botox

According to health officials, those who receive fake Botox face similar symptoms to those who have botulism poisoning.

A woman lying down in bed sick.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

As a result, after counterfeit Botox injections, people may have slurred speech, difficulty breathing, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, dry mouth, and overall weakness in their body.


Who Can Give Botox Injections?

There are many non-medical settings that now offer Botox injections. Health officials have stated that you should completely avoid these types of places.

A close-up of a gloved doctor giving a woman a Botox injection.

Source: Orhun Rüzgar ÖZ/Pexels

Instead, only go to medical settings and receive injections from professional, licensed individuals. Botox injections and treatments can be performed by physicians, physician assistants with a doctor supervising, or registered nurses.


What To Do If You Have Counterfeit Botox Symptoms

If you’ve recently had Botox injections and now you are worried that you have some of the symptoms similar to botulism poisoning, California health experts recommend that you immediately either contact your own doctor or go to the emergency room.

A woman receiving an injection in her face by a gloved doctor.

Source: Gustavo Fring/Pexels

As these fake injections can lead to serious illness and even death, it’s vitally important that those who have these symptoms seek professional health quickly.


Investigations Are Ongoing

For the moment, people may simply have to do their due diligence when deciding where they should get their Botox injections. They should double-check that they’re getting these injections from licensed, trained experts — and that the Botox is not fake.

A close-up of a gloved doctor holding many different vials of Botox.

Source: Jonathan Borba/Pexels

However, the CDPH, the CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced that they are all working together to further expand their investigation into these recent cases of fake Botox harming people. This investigation may be able to hold people accountable for knowingly putting people in harm’s way.