Still, there have been enough concerns that the FDA instituted a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) requirement for all botulinum toxin preparations that specifically addresses the issues of distant spread of the toxin and the risk of problems, leading to death, from swallowing or breathing issues in certain patients who may be susceptible after botulinum toxin treatment. All products, including Dysport, Myobloc, Xeomin, and Botox, are monitored via this strategy. This is specifically aimed at a certain population of patients receiving more than the usual doses of botulinum toxin and not aimed at the casual user of Botox, per se.
In general, you’ll find that Botox costs about $10-$20 per unit. While some offices and clinics charge a flat rate, depending on the area that they’re working on, you’ll more often find that you are charged based on how many units of Botox are used to achieve the results you’re looking for. You need around 20 units to treat your forehead and 5-6 units to treat crows feet, making Botox an affordable alternative to going under the knife.
I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
At the recent American Headache Society meeting in Washington DC, Allergan invested heavily in educating the board-certified headache physicians on the most effective injection sites and methods for Chronic Migraine patients. Find one here. Were I to repeat Botox for Migraine, I would absolutely find one of those Allergan-trained doctors and ask them exactly how many Botox for Migraine procedures they’d done.
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases. The active form consists of a two-chain protein composed of a 100-kDa heavy chain polypeptide joined via disulfide bond to a 50-kDa light chain polypeptide. The heavy chain contains domains with several functions: it has the domain responsible for binding specifically to presynaptic nerve terminals, as well as the domain responsible for mediating translocation of the light chain into the cell cytoplasm as the vacuole acidifies. The light chain is a zinc metalloprotease and is the active part of the toxin. It is translocated into the host cell cytoplasm where it cleaves the host protein SNAP-25, a member of the SNARE protein family which is responsible for fusion. The cleaved SNAP-25 is unable to mediate fusion of vesicles with the host cell membrane, thus preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings. This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.
In clinical trials, 6.5% of patients (36/552) initiated clean intermittent catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units as compared to 0.4% of patients (2/542) treated with placebo. The median duration of catheterization for patients treated with BOTOX® 100 Units was 63 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 214 days) as compared to a median duration 11 days (minimum 3 days to maximum 18 days) for patients receiving placebo.
The effects of botulinum toxin are different from those of nerve agents involved insofar in that botulism symptoms develop relatively slowly (over several days), while nerve agent effects are generally much more rapid and can be instantaneous. Evidence suggests that nerve exposure (simulated by injection of atropine and pralidoxime) will increase mortality by enhancing botulinum toxin's mechanism of toxicity.
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing.