Botulinum Toxin Therapy: Is Syringe Type Related to Cost-Effectiveness?

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Clostridium botulinum toxin is effective through cleaving presynaptic proteins at the neuromuscular junction, which prevents the release of acetylcholine and inhibits muscle contraction. Several serotypes of botulinum toxin (BT) exist; however, only 2 types have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for commercial and medical use, A and B. Both types of BT must be administered intramuscularly with a syringe, but the type of syringe is the injector's preference. Which syringe type is most efficient in minimizing product waste and most cost-effective for the patient and provider?


We performed a single-center, open-label, analytical study using BT therapy and 2 types of syringes for analytics of cost-effectiveness. OnabotulinumtoxinA was the neuromodulator used in this report. Vials (100 U) of BT A were each reconstituted with 2.5 mL of 0.9% sodium chloride, for a final concentration of 4 U/0.1 mL. High-dead-space syringes are compared with low-dead-space syringes: 1-mL tuberculin (TB) luer slip syringe with detachable 25-gauge needle and 1-mL ultrafine insulin syringe with an attached 31-gauge needle, respectively. After each syringe was evacuated, the TB syringe was noted to contain 0.05 mL of the remaining product in the hub.


Providers are discarding approximately 2 U of BT per TB syringe product injection. If the physician uses 30 syringes per day, 3 days a week, for 1 year, it equals to a lost revenue of approximately $155,500 per year. To individualize the cost-effective analysis, average quantity of syringes used per patient and overall patient volume must be considered, with corresponding adjustment of cost and units discarded.


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that the use of neuromodulators has increased by approximately 797% from 2000 to 2016. During that period, the price of neuromodulators has also increased by approximately 85%. Considering these statistics, the type of syringe used for BT neuromodular injection is a thought-provoking concept but surrounded by a paucity of data. Overall, our data suggest that the use of ultrafine insulin syringes for injection of BT reduces product waste and is cost-effective for the patient and the provider.

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