Launched in 2002, Practical Neurology is a publication uniquely dedicated to presenting current approaches to patient management, synthesis of emerging research and data, and analysis of industry news with a goal to facilitate practical application and improved clinical practice for all neurologists. Our straightforward articles give neurologists tools they can immediately put into practice.


30+ year migraine warrior, wife, mother, corporate exec turned health advocate, Paula is Migraine Again Managing Editor and Chief Encouragement Officer. She champions patient's needs as an American Migraine Foundation Board Member, CHAMP Coalition Leader, IHS Patient Advocate and co-author of CaMEO and My Migraine Voice research studies. In addition to hosting the Migraine Again Podcast and producing the Migraine World Summit, Paula is a frequent speaker at industry, health care and public policy events. She's also the Founder and CEO of the World Health Education Foundation, a 501c3. Follow her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
The most commonly reported side effects for JUVÉDERM® injectable gels were injection-site redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, firmness, lumps/bumps, bruising, discoloration, and itching. For JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA® XC, dryness was also reported. For JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC, side effects were predominantly moderate in severity, with duration of 2 to 4 weeks; for JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC , JUVÉDERM® Ultra Plus XC, or JUVÉDERM VOLLURE™ XC, they were mostly mild or moderate in severity, with duration of 14 days or less; and for JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA® XC, they were predominantly mild or moderate, with duration of 30 days or less.
The correct way to inject Botox is to always customize the treatment plan to solve the aesthetic issues that bother the person. Some patients need only limited areas injected such as the vertical lines between their brows, their “crow’s feet” at the outer aspects of their eyelids, the “bunny” lines that radiate on the sides of their nose, vertical and horizontal lip lines and rarely patients request a correction of their “gummy” smile where their upper gums show when a person smile. Yes, you usually can pay for specific areas of treatment or by the number of units injected. But if you only want single line or area of your forehead injected you may not be satisfied with the results in the end. Why? -because when Botox or Dysport is injected it will weaken only the muscles that are treated, there may be muscles that were not treated that are pulling in an opposite direction that will produce undesirable results(an example of an undesirable  effect occurs when treating just the glabella “11” lines between your eyebrows that may produce an overarched brow contour that resembles Mr. Spock.) Therefore, a complete treatment plan that includes all muscle groups should be treated to balance the pull and counter-pull of facial muscles.In addition, injections around the mouth must be performed by an experienced injector because there is the potential for the mouth to droop afterwards which can cause you to drool or may impact your ability to eat, pucker and smile. These adverse effect  may last several weeks.
Botox should only be injected with sterile instruments in a doctor's office or a medical spa — not at Botox parties at your local nail salon or neighbor's living room. Botox injection is usually performed with some local anesthesia or a numbing cream. You may feel some minimal discomfort from the shot, but today's needles are so thin and fine that the procedure is often painless. Depending on the extent of treatment, the procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes.
BOTOX is administered about every three months, and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger, relaxing the surrounding muscles so that they won’t compress the nerve and trigger a migraine. It is a potent drug, and we only recommend using it if other preventative treatment options haven’t helped you. It is generally only administered to patients who have at least 14 headaches a month, or don’t respond to other treatments.
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/4 mL or 100 Units/2 mL with preservative -free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP (see Table 1). The lowest recommended starting dose should be used, and no more than 50 Units p er site should generally be administered. An appropriately sized needle (e.g., 25-30 gauge) may be used for superficial muscles, and a longer 22 gauge needle may be used for deeper musculature. Localization of the involved muscles with techniques such as needle electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation is recommended.
Can you use Botox under your eyes? Botox is often used to treat lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Can it also reduce dark circles or bags under the eyes? Using Botox under the eyes is not approved in the U.S. and researchers are unsure how well it may work and what side effects may occur. Here, learn about the procedure and its alternatives. Read now
Since Botox made its first appearance in the med-spa world, a number of similar treatments have also become available. These include Dysport, another Botulinum toxin type A injectable, as well as dermal fillers (which use hyaluronic acid to plump skin) such as Juvéderm, Restylane, and Perlane. The decision to choose between Botox vs Dysport depends largely on the results you're hoping to achieve. For more information, check out the following guides:

Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups. Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of spasticity in pediatric patients under age 18 years. BOTOX has not been shown to improve upper extremity functional abilities, or range of motion at a joint affected by a fixed contracture. Treatment with BOTOX is not intended to substitute for usual standard of care rehabilitation regimens.
On February 1, 2017, the company acquired LifeCell, a specialist in regenerative medicine, for $2.9 billion.[32] On April 28, the company acquired Zeltiq Aesthetics, marketer of a cryolipolysis procedure, for $2.4 billion.[33] On June 7, the company announced the acquisition of Keller Medical, a company that manufactures devices for use during breast augmentation surgery.[34] On December 12, the company announced the acquisition of Repros Therapeutics, a developer of drugs for reproductive system diseases.[35]
This product contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). There is a theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but if that risk actually exists, the risk of transmission would also be considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases, CJD, or vCJD have ever been identified for licensed albumin or albumin contained in other licensed products.

Dr. Schwedt believes ARMR offers hope for patients living with migraine. “ARMR data could lead to breakthroughs in the field,” he says. One hope for ARMR is that it will contribute to the ability for health care providers to use precision medicine to treat their patients. Clinical trials show which migraine therapies are overall effective for groups of people with migraine; however, health care providers are still working to understand which specific therapy is ideal for a particular patient. “One of the challenges we have in this field right now is being able to determine which exact therapy is going to be best for which patient,” Dr. Schwedt says. “For example, we might know that about 50% of patients will benefit from a specific migraine preventive therapy, but we don’t know in advance which 50% that is. I believe the data we’re collecting in ARMR is going to help us get to the stage where we can practice precision medicine, knowing which therapy is most likely to help an individual patient prior to the patient starting that therapy.”
It's a remarkable arc for a drug that only a few years ago was associated with Hollywood cocktail parties where guests came for Bellinis and left with a forehead full of Botox injections. It highlights the advances that can occur when physicians, seeking new therapies for their patients, explore creative new uses for approved drugs--basically, real-world experiments that take place largely beyond the reach of federal regulators. That, in turn, raises questions about the risks of deploying medicines in ways that have not been fully vetted. But it happens all the time.
It's also not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for depression, not that that stops doctors from prescribing it that way. Such off-label use of Botox, like that of any FDA-approved drug, is legal in the U.S. That's because once a drug has been approved by the FDA for a condition, licensed physicians are legally allowed to prescribe it for any medical issue they think it could benefit, regardless of whether it's been proved to work for that condition.

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In clinical trials, 30.6% of patients (33/108) who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to injection, required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 200 Units as compared to 6.7% of patients (7/104) treated with placebo. The median duration of postinjection catheterization for these patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units (n = 33) was 289 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 530 days) as compared to a median duration of 358 days (minimum 2 days to maximum 379 days) for patients receiving placebo (n = 7).
BOTOX blocks neuromuscular transmission by binding to acceptor sites on motor or sympathetic nerve terminals, entering the nerve terminals, and inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. This inhibition occurs as the neurotoxin cleaves SNAP -25, a protein integral to the successful docking and release of acetylcholine from vesicles situated within nerve endings. When injected intramuscularly at therapeutic doses, BOTOX produces partial chemical denervation of the muscle resulting in a localized reduction in muscle act ivity. In addition, the muscle may atrophy, axonal sprouting may occur, and extrajunctional acetylcholine receptors may develop. There is evidence that reinnervation of the muscle may occur, thus slowly reversing muscle denervation produced by BOTOX.
Scientists at the University of Granada have confirmed that injecting a local anesthetic or botulinum toxin (botox) into certain points named "trigger points" of the pericraneal and neck muscles reduce migraine frequency among migraine sufferers. University of Granada researchers have identified the location of these trigger points -which activation results in migraine- and their relationship with the duration and severity of this condition.
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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.

Focal Spasticity is a condition in which certain muscles in your body become stiff or tight. It is caused by damage to parts of the central nervous system that control voluntary movements. When this happens, your nerves send continuous messages to your muscles telling them to contract, or tighten. If you or someone you care for has stiffness in the muscles of the elbow, wrist, fingers, thumb, ankle, or toes, it could be Focal Spasticity.1
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