The cosmetic use of Botulinum toxin, or Botox, needs to be better regulated to protect patients, an expert has claimed.
There is growing demand for the government to introduce regulations on its use, as untrained staff working in the beauty therapy and leisure industries are currently able to administer the drug.
Dr Marie-Helene Marion, consultant neurologist at London's St George's Hospital, said that Botox can be a "miracle drug", but should only be administered by trained medical staff.
"The government has rejected calls for tighter controls on the cosmetic uses of Botulinum toxin and leaves UK as the only European country where the drug can be administered by non-medical staff," she revealed.
Health minister Lord Hunt said last month that cosmetic surgery practitioners should employ a scheme of self-regulation, but Dr Marion believes this is not enough.
"There should be a more open debate to protect the public from Botulinum toxin being injected indiscriminately by non-medical staff," she insisted.
According to the expert, who offers the drug at her private clinic at the London BTX Centre, Botox can be toxic at high, non-therapeutic doses, making it vital that it is administered by a specially-trained doctor.