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Korean patients lack knowledge about risk of resistance development by BTX
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.03.15 15:39
  • Updated 2019.03.15 17:36
  • comments 0

More than half of the people who have undergone botulinum toxin (BTX) treatment in Korea are not aware of the risk of developing resistance when undergoing continuous treatment, according to a survey done by Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan’s Senior Vice President Rhenu Bhuller explains the patient awareness of Asians regarding the resistance build-up after taking BTX, during a news conference at the Plaza Seoul on Wednesday.

Botulinum toxin, commonly referred to as "Botox," is a biopharmaceutical used to improve the appearance of fine lines, foreheads, wrinkles in the eyes or to make the square jaws slender. With increasing interest in skin care, it has become a popular procedure, but if repeated, it can lead to toxin resistance and reduce effectiveness.

To get a better read on the situation, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 2,200 people aged 21 to 55 years treated with botulinum toxin in seven Asian countries -- Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, India, and Singapore.

“According to the survey, 70 percent of the Koreans said they felt the effects of botulinum toxin decreased when they were repeated three times on average,” said Rhenu Bhuller, senior vice president of Frost & Sullivan, during a media session for Merz’s 10th anniversary of the launch of its BTX, Xeomin.

Despite the drop in efficacy, 97 percent of the patients responded that they are willing to continue receiving BTX for aesthetic purposes and most of the patients continue treatment by using a different BTX product, she added.

While 72 percent of Asian patients were aware of the resistance build-up, Korean patients fell short of its neighboring countries, with 55 percent, Bhuller said.

The survey also showed that 36 percent of Asian patients are aware the complex protein is the primary cause of the resistance build-up, compared to only 26 percent of Korean patients.

One of the significant problems that have caused low awareness is due to the lack of explanations from medical professionals, it said.

“As to the key sources of information about diminishing efficacy of BTX treatment, only 37 percent of the Korean patients replied that they found out the diminishing efficacy due to resistance build-up through a medical professional,” Bhuller said. “On the other hand, 51 percent of Korean respondents, the highest among the Asian countries, replied that they had received the information from a friend, family or colleague.”

While 53 percent of Asian patients responded that their doctors specifically explained the resistance build-up and what causes it, only 27 percent of Koreans answered so, Bhuller noted.

Despite the low awareness, the survey showed that 83 percent of the patients wanted to learn more about the resistance build-up even after they underwent the operation an average of three times.

To increase awareness, Merz Korea is planning to launch a campaign, called “Choose Zero,” to inform consumers that repeated BTX therapy can build up resistance and become ineffective.

Through the campaign, the company plans to help patients find out if there are a complex protein and chemical additive that would cause resistance to BTX.

"We will contribute to raising awareness so that people can use the toxin properly and safely," Merz Korea CEO Yoo Soo-yeon said


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