An anti-wrinkle treatment that is virtually identical to Botox has been linked to serious birth defects.

An Australian baby was born deaf and blind in November 2005 after the mother was given facial cosmetic injections of the drug Dysport in her first week of pregnancy.

Documents from the Federal Health and Ageing Department in Australia, released under Freedom of Information, have revealed the "serious and unexpected pregnancy outcome."

Dysport and Botox are both botulinum type A toxin drugs rapidly growing in popularity as muscle-relaxant cosmetic treatments.

The birth defect link was among 46 different adverse reactions to botulinum type A toxin reported to Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration since 1994.

In February 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the public that Botox and a similar drug, Myobloc, have been linked to adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death.

The most common side effects are temporary facial paralysis, visual disturbances, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, hallucinations and anxiety.

A 2006 report on the Australian birth defect case, written by the medical services manager for Dysport manufacturer Ipsen, admits a "possible" link with the drug's use.

"A female subject was injected with Dysport at about one week of gestation. The infant was born deaf and blind," the report stated.

Another report, however, claimed there was no such link.

A spokeswoman for Australian Botox distributor Allergan said its safety had been established more than 40 years ago.

"More than 2,000 clinical studies and review articles have been published on the effectiveness and safety of Botox," she said.

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