When using botulinum toxin-based products, the physician must decide the optimal location and dose required to alleviate symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life. To deliver effective treatment, the physician needs to understand the importance of accurate target muscle selection and localization and the implications of each product's migration properties when diluted in different volumes. Pre-clinical mouse models of efficacy and safety have been utilized to compare local and distal muscle relaxation effects following defined intramuscular administration. Data from the model allow the products to be ranked based on their propensity for local efficacy versus their distal migration properties. Using standardized dilutions, the non-parallel dose–response curves for the various formulations demonstrate that they have different efficacy profiles. Distal effects were also noted at different treatment doses, which are reflected in the different safety and/or therapeutic margins. Based on these pre-clinical data, the safety and therapeutic margin rankings are ordered, largest to smallest, as BOTOX®, Dysport® and Myobloc®. The results of subsequent clinical trials are variable and dose comparisons are inconclusive, thus supporting the regulatory position that the dose units of the individual preparations are unique and cannot be simply converted between products.