It was peculiar advice coming from a shrink, but not without precedent. In 2014, Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Dr. Eric Finzi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington School of Medicine, published a study showing that when people with major depression got Botox, they reported fewer symptoms six weeks later than people who had been given placebo injections. "I'm always on the lookout for things that are unusual and interesting for depression," says Rosenthal, who is widely considered an expert on the condition. "I've found Botox to be helpful, but it's still not mainstream."
Botox has also been shown to prevent chronic migraines, but there, it's unclear exactly why Botox works. (For doctors, reaching a firm understanding of how Botox prevents migraines will be tricky, since they don't know for certain what causes the severe headaches in the first place.) "There were multiple clinical trials for migraines, and most of them failed," says Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of drug development at Allergan and chief scientific officer for Botox. "It took a long time to figure out where to inject and how much." Today people who receive Botox for migraine prevention get 31 injections in different spots on their head and neck. The effects of Botox can last about three to six months depending on the condition.
If you find that your Botox wears off really fast, speak to the person who gave you the injections to find out why (i.e. if the Botox was too diluted, not enough was injected, the Botox was old, your anatomy requires a different technique, you might be resistant to Botox, etc). A reputable doctor will work with you to figure out how to make the Botox treatments worth your time and money. Keep in mind that for some people, Botox takes time to kick in - approximately 1-2 days to be noticeable and 1-2 weeks to peak.

Some industry insiders say it's not unusual, if still legally murky, for drug-company representatives and doctors to share information with one another about the different ways an approved drug may be used. If a doctor notices that, say, a treatment for crossed eyes also "takes the lines out," he may mention it to the representative from whom he buys the drugs. That rep may share that with another of his clients, and so on.


In 2010, Allergan pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $600 million to resolve allegations that it unlawfully promoted Botox for conditions--including headaches, pain, spasticity and juvenile cerebral palsy--that at the time were not approved by the FDA. In one of the complaints, prosecutors said that Allergan "illegally, vigorously and without any thought to the possible negative health effects to which it subjected patients, promoted off-label uses of Botox." The U.S. Department of Justice also argued that Allergan exploited on-label uses for cervical dystonia--a disorder characterized by extreme neck-muscle contractions--to "grow off-label pain and headache sales." Prosecutors also argued that Allergan paid doctors to give presentations and trainings to other physicians about Botox uses that at the time were off-label.
Exploratory analyses of this study suggested that the majority of patients who had shown a beneficial response by week 6 had returned to their baseline status by 3 months after treatment. Exploratory analyses of subsets by patient sex and age suggest that both sexes receive benefit, although female patients may receive somewhat greater amounts than male patients. There is a consistent trea tmentassociated effect between subsets greater than and less than age 65. There were too few non-Caucasian patients enrolled to draw any conclusions regarding relative efficacy in racial subsets.
Botox gained popularity and notoriety as a wrinkle reducer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it wasn’t long before researchers recognized the potential of Botox for treating medical conditions, too. Today it’s used to treat problems such as repetitive neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a preventive treatment option for chronic migraines.
How much is Botox is a frequent question we get in our dermatology offices. The cost of Botox runs typically about $400 – $600 per first treatment area, and up to $300 for each additional area. The most popular areas for Botox treatment are the glabella (those lines in between your eyebrows also known as the “11’s”), the crow’s feet are around the eyes and the horizontal lines on the forehead. When injected by a trained professional who has experience with facial aesthetics, Botox can also give the brows and eye area a mini eye lift. When Botox injections are performed by a trained, licensed and experienced medical expert, the results can be amazing. You will not appear frozen or as though you’ve had work done, when injected properly, Botox makes you look more relaxed, more rejuvenated and just better than before. It’s important to seek out a professional who knows about facial anatomy and can inject you in the exact right places.
"As we get older, we lose volume in our face and hyaluronic acid filler can be used as a replacement,” explains Wexler. "For younger women, injections can be used to treat areas with acne scarring or hollowness under the eyes." During your ‘20s, when the face is at its fullest and healthiest, it has been argued that a shadowy gaze can even be quite charming. But in other cases, hereditary dark circles can result in a persistently tired look, which is where a few drops of filler under the eyes may be useful. As top dermatologist David Colbert, M.D. is quick to note, however, too much Botox and filler distorts the face and as a result will make you appear older. “When the line is crossed everyone starts looking like they are related," he also cautions of a uniform cookie-cutter appearance that lacks character or individuality. Or worse. “It’s a snowball effect of people liking something, coming back too soon [for even more], and then it gets too heavy,” adds Wexler.
The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s when it was discovered that BOTOX® could stop ailments such as blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using BOTOX® for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. BOTOX® is approved for treatment of frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and axillary hyperhidrosis (increased sweating of the armpits). Within the past few years, new products that have similar preparations have been introduced into the U.S. market and have been well-received by patients.
Dr. Starling says the FDA approval indicates that the anti-CGRP treatments are ideal for individuals with episodic migraine who have four to 14 headache days per month, and people with chronic migraine who have 15 or more headache days per month. Clinical trials are also being conducted to see if anti-CGRP antibodies are effective for the treatment of cluster headache. “The initial studies have demonstrated that it’s likely effective for cluster headache patients,” Dr. Starling says. The FDA’s approval of these medications has been incredibly meaningful for the migraine community. “The migraine community is feeling like they’re relevant—that they’re being seen, heard and taken seriously,” Dr. Starling says. “There are many people who are working hard to develop more treatment options until we can address every patient who has migraine, and eventually find a cure.”
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.
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.
The procerus is a small triangular-shaped muscle that intermingles with the inferior aspect of the frontalis muscle. The muscle runs from the aponeurotic fascia on the nasal bones and inserts into the skin of the inferior forehead. The medial portion of the eyebrow and the skin of the lower forehead are drawn down by the procerus muscle, producing transverse wrinkle lines over the bridge of the nose.
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Prior to injection, reconstitute each vacuum-dried vial of BOTOX with only sterile, preservative-free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection USP. Draw up the proper amount of diluent in the appropriate size syringe (see Table 1, or for specific instructions for detr usor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition see Section 2.3), and slowly inject the diluent into the vial. Discard the vial if a vacuum does not pull the diluent into the vial. Gently mix BOTOX with the saline by rotating the vial. Record the date and time of reconstitution on the space on the label. BOTOX should be administered within 24 hours after reconstitution. During this time period, reconstituted BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C).
They affect 39 million folks in the U.S., 4 million of whom deal with daily pain. Chronic migraines can severely inhibit daily life, and when I started to feel like my bad days were outnumbering my good, I knew I needed to find a solution. Botox had been suggested to me multiple times before by friends, family, and doctors, and though it took quite a while to get it approved by insurance and find a provider I trusted, my migraines were making it hard to live a normal life, so I decided to try it out.
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
How Was the Botox Mixed? A factor that many patients are unaware of is that Botox and Dysport come in a powder form that must be mixed with sterile saline to reconstitute the vial. The amount of water that is mixed with the Botox or Dysport can vary and will determine the concentration of the medicine. Some doctors and nurses dilute the powder too much so that the final concentration of Botox or Dysport is weak. So if you go to a provider who advertises a cheap price (for instance below the wholesale price) the injections you may be getting may be very dilute and may not be as effective as a more concentrated (more expensive) injection.
Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.” Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary. Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.

The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s upon the discovery that Botox could stop ailments like blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Doctors have been using Botox for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. In April 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows - called glabellar lines. However, Botox is often used for other areas of the face as well.


During treatment, very low doses of Botox® Cosmetic are administered via a few tiny injections directly into the muscles responsible for frown lines between the brows. By blocking the release of a chemical that causes them to contract, Botox® Cosmetic enables them to relax. The effects are very localized and, when administered by an experienced injector, do not affect your ability to smile, laugh, or otherwise show expression. Botox® Cosmetic is the only product of its kind that has been approved for use in this area.
In her talk, Lalvani expressed her intent to drive AMF’s mission forward by leveraging the expertise of the American Headache Society and incorporating more patient voices. The Move Against Migraine support community is essential to that goal, and AMF strives to be a trusted partner for support, resources and credible information for everyone in the community. The Move Against Migraine campaign was launched to raise awareness of migraine, but that’s only the beginning. Lalvani pointed to AMF’s advocacy and community-building efforts, specifically the response to Elle’s “Migraine Pose” article and robust partnership program. Whatever the platform and audience, AMF works to ensure the patient voice is always included and heard. Lalvani concluded her talk by stressing that patients have an important role to play as “drivers of change” and encouraged listeners to continue connecting with AMF. Check out our full library of Facebook Live recaps with some of the leading headache specialists and patient advocates in the country, and visit our resource library for more information on how you can better advocate for yourself and the migraine community.

Dr. Matarasso says hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t see a patient with a botched Botox job. Why? People are getting it done by unexperienced, often unlicensed, practitioners who don’t know the shape of the face and how to correctly administer the toxin. “I just had a patient come in the other day who went to an ER doctor, and one that went to a psychiatrist,” he says. “They [also] have these Botox parties and I have seen scarring, significant bruising, not only functional, but aesthetic complications.”
What Other Factors Determine the Cost of Botox? The fixed cost of Botox or Dysport that the doctor pays for the drugs is relatively expensive and therefore that cost is obviously passed along to the patient. The cost of Botox or Dysport injections also depends upon the number of areas that are required to obtain the best results. The more areas that need treatment the greater the amount of injections that will be required to arrive at the most desirable result. Simply put -the more areas that need  treatment the higher the cost of treatment.
Other adverse reactions that occurred more frequently in the BOTOX group compared to the placebo group at a frequency less th an 1% and potentially BOTOX related include: vertigo, dry eye, eyelid edema, dysphagia, eye infection, and jaw pain. Severe worsening of migraine requiring hospitalization occurred in approximately 1% of BOTOX treated patients in Study 1 and Study 2, usually within the first week after treatment, compared to 0.3% of placebo-treated patients.
In general, the initial effect of the injections is seen within three days and reaches a peak at one to two weeks post-treatment. Each treatment lasts approximately three months, following which the procedure can be repeated. At repeat treatment sessions, the dose may be increased up to two-fold if the response from the initial treatment is considered insufficient, usually defined as an effect that does not last longer than two months. However, there appears to be little benefit obtainable from injecting more than 5 Units per site. Some tolerance may be found when BOTOX is used in treating blepharospasm if treatments are given any more frequently than every three months, and is rare to have the effect be permanent.
Why Botox works isn’t completely clear. There’s some evidence that it may reduce the production of neurotransmitters related to pain in the areas where it’s injected. There’s also some evidence that it may have a broader effect on the brain’s pain centers, reducing the sensitivity that causes migraine sufferers to react to migraine triggers. While the exact mechanisms are poorly understood, the studies, as well as many of my patients’ experiences, do show a real benefit for many people.
For most of our guests, the effects of the treatment can last anywhere from 3-6 months. Many factors can influence how long the effects last. As the product wears off, muscle action returns gradually, & the previously treated lines & wrinkles may begin to reappear, and need to be treated again. With repeated treatment, the lines and wrinkles often appear less severe than before, as the muscles are being trained to relax.Some of these factors that may shorten or lengthen the effects include:
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