In the United States, botulinum toxin products are manufactured by a variety of companies, for both therapeutic and cosmetic use. A U.S. supplier reported in its company materials in 2011 that it could "supply the world's requirements for 25 indications approved by Government agencies around the world" with less than one gram of raw botulinum toxin. Myobloc or Neurobloc, a botulinum toxin type B product, is produced by Solstice Neurosciences, a subsidiary of US WorldMeds. AbobotulinumtoxinA), a therapeutic formulation of the type A toxin manufactured by Galderma in the United Kingdom, is licensed for the treatment of focal dystonias and certain cosmetic uses in the U.S. and other countries.
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.
If the musculature of the oropharynx and esophagus are affected, aspiration may occur which may lead to development of aspira tion pneumonia. If the respiratory muscles become paralyzed or sufficiently weakened, intubation and assisted respiration may be necessary until recovery takes place. Supportive care could involve the need for a tracheostomy and/or prolonged mechanical ventilation, in addition to other general supportive care.
Just because not every cosmetic Botox procedure is FDA-approved doesn't mean it's not safe and effective, if done properly. Off-label procedures are still within the standard of care, and there are tons of them. “There are so many non-FDA-approved applications for Botox,” says dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “It can be used to decrease scalp-sweating (which helps prolong blowouts), correct a droopy nasal tip (called nasal-tip ptosis), fix brow asymmetry, minimize bunny lines from wrinkling your nose, decrease skin oiliness, minimize the appearance of pores...” The list goes on and on.
This is because the discretionary procedures tend to be out of pocket, and providers are used to answering the question: how much does it cost? An MRI, on the other hand, might have several prices: A sticker price, a negotiated or reimbursed rate (what the insurance company pays), the rate that Medicare and Medicaid pay for treatments for people who are older and those who have low income, an out-of-network price, and so on. We know about this because we’ve done pricing surveys for about 35 common procedures in seven U.S. metro areas, collecting cash or self-pay prices for both medically necessary procedures (an MRI, a colonoscopy) and discretionary procedures (Botox, Lasik).
In rare cases, Botox toxin can spread to areas beyond the injection site. If this happens, you may experience muscle weakness, vision changes, difficulty swallowing, and drooping eyelids. To reduce your risk of serious side effects and complications, always make sure Botox is prescribed and administered by a trained healthcare professional who has experience in using Botox.
Much like other fillers, Botox is slowly metabolized in the system, so for it to remain effective, patients have to get the procedure every three months or so (however, as Ravitz told me during a recent visit, you can't get it done too frequently or your body will develop antibodies). I've now had four additional rounds of Botox since my initial procedure and have learned a lot about how my body reacts to it. Read on for both Ravitz's insight and information about my experience with five rounds of Botox.
We charge Botox Cosmetic by the area. The three most common areas are the crow's feet, forehead, and the lines in-between the brows (glabella). I typically use approximately 60 units for those 3 areas and charge $575. So in our practice we charge about $10/unit. I personally do all of my own injections and have treated over 2000 patients last year with Botox. I have considered raising prices over the past few years, but in today's financial turmoil, even though surgical prices have risen in my practice, Botox and other injectible prices have remained the same for the past 4 years.
Botox is so commonplace these days that you can get it done at some gyms and spas, but in these cases, you never know what you’re getting, how old the product is, with what it's mixed, and whether the injector knows what he or she is doing. Dr. Matarasso suggests only getting it done by what he calls the “core four”: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
In general, adverse reactions occur within the first week follo wing injection of BOTOX and while generally transient, may have a duration of several months or longer. Localized pain, infection, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, erythema, and/or bleeding/bruising may be associated with the injection. Needle-related pain and/or anxiety may result in vasovagal responses (including e.g., syncope, hypotension), which may require appropriate medical therapy.
Please note, there are no guaranteed results with BOTOX and results may vary from patients to patient. Though BOTOX is not effective for all types of headaches, about 90% of MRC’s patients report that their migraines are less frequent and not as severe after BOTOX treatment. In clinical trials, patients reported seven to nine fewer headaches per month. In a study by A. H. Elkind, P. O’Carroll, A. Blumenfeld, R. DeGryse, and R. Dimitrova, a standard course of treatment brought patients these results:
Charges can vary from $8 to $20 a unit depending on where you are in the country and the level of dilution, meaning that the price may actually be higher than the quoted price if a clinic dilutes it out instead of preparing full-strength Botox. The cost of the procedure varies as it depends upon the total number of units injected and the number of sites treated.
The average price for Botox in the Houston area is $14-15/unit. Most providers nowadays will offer specials. In addition, Botox has a "rewards" program that gives you $25 off each treatment done within 3-6 mos of the last treatment, as long as it's done at the same office. Treatment of the glabella, crow's feet and forehead require 25-50 units, depending on the severity of the lines.
Botox is administered by injection and dosing depends on the condition that it is used for. Administration of botulinum toxin with other agents (for example, aminoglycosides, curare) that affect neuromuscular function may increase the effect of botulinum toxin. There are no adequate studies of Botox in pregnant women and it has not been evaluated in nursing mothers.
Not a Botox patient? Listen anyway. This is good practice for asking the price for other medical procedures like an MRI or a colonoscopy, where the information can be much harder to get. The common replies you could get: “What’s your insurance?” “We can’t tell you because it depends on your deductible.” “We don’t know.” “You’ll have to call billing.”
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In November, the FDA held a two-day hearing asking for expert comment on the agency's rules concerning off-label drug use and marketing. Some said the practice paves the way for scientific progress and gives doctors and their patients much needed alternatives for hard-to-treat medical conditions. Others said that off-label drug use is primarily financially motivated and that it poses a serious threat to public health, particularly when drugs are used experimentally on children.
Two years later, Allergan bought Oculinum for $9 million and changed the drug's name to Botox. At the time, Allergan was primarily an ocular-care company that sold products like contact-lens cleaners and prescription solutions for dry eyes, bringing in about $500 million in annual sales. Allergan says it saw Botox as a drug for a niche population: it's estimated that 4% of people in the U.S. have crossed eyes, for which the drug was initially approved, and Allergan made about $13 million in sales from the drug by the end of 1991.
If you experience migraine symptoms on 15 or more days each month, you have chronic migraines. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help ease some of your symptoms, but some patients don’t respond well to pain relievers. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe preventive medicines, which are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. According to research published in the journal Neurology, only about one-third of patients with chronic migraines take preventive medicines.
Injection description is very important. It is best to describe the injections as a pinch rather than a bee sting, and to explain that the injections are shallow, with only a half-inch needle. As a result of the superficial technique used with the injections, deep anticoagulation can be continued. The procedure is short, and talking to the patient during the procedure about something other than the injections can help alleviate the patient’s anxiety. It is important to describe onabotulinumtoxinA as a purified protein rather than a toxin or a poison. In addition, stating that it relaxes muscles rather than causing paralysis will be reassuring to the patient. In a very anxious patient, the areas to be injected can be iced first or a local anesthetic cream can be applied. Starting with the trapezius muscle can also help, as these injections are the least painful, and the patient cannot see the needle. Finally, it is important to make sure the injections are performed with a sharp needle, and blunt needles are discarded. Thirty-gauge needles only remain sharp for six to eight needle sticks each.
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A migraine requires only two of the following headache features: a unilateral distribution (one-sided), pulsatile quality (throbbing), moderate or severe pain (more than 5 out of 10), and aggravation by physical activity (such as bending over). In addition, to diagnose migraine, only one of the following is required: nausea or vomiting or sensitivity to light and noise.
The results usually start to be noticed within three to 10 days or even sooner. They tend to last in most people for up to three or four months. As time passes, the muscle activity will gradually return to normal. Additionally, other areas may return to activity over time, depending on the amount injected. The interesting thing about Botox is that it tends to work fairly well even up to the third month, as a procedure that might last a very short time at full strength and then go away quickly (filler injections such as Restylane, Perlane, or Juvederm tend to last approximately six to 12 months, depending on the amount used).
No definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect associated with dermatologic use of BOTOX® Cosmetic at the labeled dose of 20 Units (for glabellar lines), 24 Units (for lateral canthal lines), 40 Units (for forehead lines with glabellar lines), 44 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines and glabellar lines), and 64 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines, glabellar lines, and forehead lines) have been reported.
The company markets brand products in six therapeutic areas: aesthetics/dermatology/plastic surgery; neurosciences/CNS; eye care; women’s health and urology; GI and cystic fibrosis; and cardiovascular disease and infectious disease. The company's products include Botox (botulinum toxin), Namenda (memantine), Restasis (ciclosporin), Linzess (linaclotide), Bystolic (nebivolol), Juvederm (injectable filler), Latisse (bimatoprost), Lo Loestrin Fe, Estrace (estradiol), Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil), Dalvance (dalbavancin, Ozurdex (dexamethasone), Optive, Natrelle, Viibryd (vilazodone), Liletta (levonorgestrel), Saphris (asenapine), Enablex (darifenacin), Actonel (risedronic acid), Androderm (testosterone), and Gelnique (oxybutynin).
Botox is injected in and around the head on an average of every three months. It blocks signals from nerves and paralyzes the muscles, ultimately preventing migraines. It is known to relax the muscles that usually contract during migraines. It’s also the only FDA-approved medication to prevent migraines before they even start! It’s known to prevent about nine migraines per month.
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.”
Now, thanks in large part to off-label use, Botox--the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph--is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal's patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug's unique characteristics as much as the drug industry's unique strategies for creating a blockbuster.
Hoffman’s husband’s experience is not unusual. Once a patient gets the more expensive prescription, health insurance providers can still try and push them back to cheaper drugs. Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Loder says that most health insurance companies stop paying for Botox if it’s not reducing a patient’s migraines by at least 50 percent. “It’s important to keep careful headache diaries and keep careful notes in order to be able to prove to the insurance company that the treatment is worth it,” Loder says. “You’re not home free once they approve it.”
It may be the most well known, but Botox is just one type of neurotoxin on the market. Other, next-level neurotoxins are Dysport, FDA-approved in 2009, and Xeomin, FDA-approved in 2011. “They all originate from the same strain of bacteria, therefore they work essentially in the same way,” explains Z. Paul Lorenc, MD, a board certified aesthetic plastic surgeon in Manhattan. “There are some nuanced differences between the three,” he adds. Xeomin is a purified neurotoxin, also called a “naked molecule,” because it doesn’t contain any extra surface proteins, the way Botox and Dysport do. This “pure” neurotoxin migrates deeper into skin, works faster, and poses less risk of an allergic reaction. “Theoretically, decreasing the protein load also lessens the chance of becoming a non-responder, meaning it lessens the chance that the patient will become immune to the neuromodulator being injected,” Dr. Lorenc says. Dysport tends to spread a little more than Botox, so it’s good for areas that would otherwise need multiple injections. It also kicks in faster than the other two, typically showing effects after two to three days opposed to seven to ten days with Botox, and five to six days with Xeomin. Once you try the different neurotoxins, you might decide you like one brand better than the others.
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This is where Botox comes into play. When you get consistent Botox injections, you prevent potential wrinkle formations from getting deeper or worse. Botox limits the range of facial muscle movement (when done skillfully, your face will not get that frozen look) so that wrinkles don't worsen over time. If you have a bad habit of frowning or lifting your brows for no reason, consistent Botox injections can also help your face kick these bad habits and therefore prevent any potential lines from getting etched in your skin. Getting frequent Botox injections may also help relax your facial muscles so that you don't need as a high a dose or as frequent as an injection to maintain your results.
It’s important to set up reasonable expectations for your Botox experience. “Botox does not get rid of all wrinkles on your face—it gets rid of wrinkles made from expressions,” Dr. Waibel explains. “It improves the appearance of these wrinkles by relaxing the muscles. It does not get rid of what we call static wrinkles—the ones that are seen at rest when looking in the mirror.” If those wrinkles bother you, talk to your dermatologist about the laser treatments that can help smooth them out. Find out the 13 craziest requests plastic surgeons have received.
In response to the occurrence of these side effects, in 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the public of the potential dangers of the botulinum toxin as a therapeutic. Namely, they warned that the toxin can spread to areas distant from the site of injection and paralyze unintended muscle groups, especially when used for treating muscle spasticity in children treated for cerebral palsy. In 2009, the FDA announced that boxed warnings would be added to available botulinum toxin products, warning of their ability to spread from the injection site. Additionally, the FDA announced name changes to several botulinum toxin products, meant to emphasize that the products are not interchangeable and require different doses for proper use. Botox and Botox Cosmetic were renamed onabotulinumtoxinA, Myobloc was renamed rimabotulinumtoxinB, and Dysport name renamed abobotulinumtoxinA. In conjunction with this, the FDA issued a communication to health care professionals reiterating the new drug names and the approved uses for each. A similar warning was issued by Health Canada in 2009, warning that botulinum toxin products can spread to other parts of the body.