Published: 5 September 2019


Stop and think before using botulinum toxin

Prescriber Update 40(3): 48
September 2019

Key Messages

  • Products of botulinum are not interchangeable.
  • The strength displayed in units is unique to each product and is not comparable across the different products.


Botulinum toxin type A is a muscle relaxant used to treat a variety of disorders characterised by overactive muscle movement or muscle spasm. There are three products containing botulinum toxin type A approved in New Zealand (Table 1).

Table 1: Approved products containing botulinum toxin type A

Product Botulinum toxin type A formulation Botulinum toxin type A strength per vial Funded
Botox Complex of toxin and accessory proteins 100 U and 200 U Yes
Dysport Toxin-haemagglutinin complex 300 ipsen units and 500 ipsen units Yes
Xeomin Purified toxin only 50 U and 100 U No

Botulinum toxin products are not interchangeable

There is a risk of medication error when botulinum toxin type A is prescribed, dispensed or administered. Unit doses of botulinum toxin type A are not therapeutically equivalent across products and these products are not interchangeable (see Table 1). The formulation of botulinum toxin type A in each product is different. In addition, the potency units are specific to the preparation and assay method used in the respective product. Please refer to the data sheets for full prescribing information and instructions for reconstitution1–3.


  1. Allergan (New Zealand) Limited. 2017. Botox New Zealand Data Sheet November 2017. URL: (accessed 18 June 2019).
  2. Healthcare Logistics. 2018. Dysport New Zealand Data Sheet 13 December 2018. URL: (accessed 18 June 2019).
  3. Healthcare Logistics. 2019. Xeomin New Zealand Data Sheet 17 January 2019. (accessed 20 June 2019).
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