The use of BOTOX® extends back to the late 1800s when scientists began to look into the toxin produced by specific bacteria that arose from meat products. Justinus Kerner identified botulinum toxin (the chemical that forms the foundation of BOTOX®) as “fatty poison” from this basis, coming up with the name for a condition known as botulism (from the Latin for sausage — botulus). Botulism is a disorder that most commonly causes facial paralysis due to excessive botulinum toxin levels. However, Kerner was quick to see that the toxin, rather than being purely harmful, could also possess therapeutic potential.
Before the beginning of the 20th century another scientist identified the bacteria that lead to the creation of botulinum toxin and, by 1928, research on botulinum had reached the point where it could be purified. In 1949 botulinum toxin’s use in blocking neuromuscular transmission was discovered and later, toward the end of the 1960s, ophthalmologists began to see the benefit of the toxin in medical treatments that helped patients with eye-related conditions (like crossed eyes and uncontrollable blinking).