In double-blind, placebo-controlled chronic migraine efficacy trials (Study 1 and Study 2), the discontinuation rate was 12% in the BOTOX treated group and 10% in the placebo-treated group. Discontinuations due to an adverse event were 4% in the BOTOX group and 1% in the placebo group. The most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation in the BOTOX group were neck pain, headache, worsening migraine, muscular weakness and eyelid ptosis.
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Allergan says Botox is well established as a drug and that the benefits and risks of toxins are well understood. "With more than 25 years of real-world clinical experience ... approximately 3,200 articles in scientific and medical journals, marketing authorizations in more than 90 markets and many different indications, Botox and Botox Cosmetic are [among] the most widely researched medicines in the world," an Allergan rep wrote in an emailed statement.
The only difference between the two procedures is that with Botox for migraines, they may do a few more shots in areas where the pain is experienced. Personally, I usually get between 30 and 40 shots, concentrated mostly on the right side of my head where the pain occurs, at the base of my skull, and on my neck and shoulders, where I tend to hold tension, as doing so can cause a migraine. Botox for migraines can have the same aesthetic effect that cosmetic Botox has, which kills two birds with one stone for people who may desire that effect. "We do it along wrinkle lines and keep it symmetrical," says Ravitz, which explains the erasing of lines and temporary plumping of wrinkles.
Ratings on RealSelf.com (www.RealSelf.com) show a satisfaction rate of 65% for Botox, which is on par with other treatments such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane and slightly higher than Xeomin and Dysport. Longer-term treatments, such as Ultherapy facial tightening and Liposuction/SmartLipo achieve ratings in the 80% and above area, while others such as CoolSculpting (Zeltiq) achieve ratings in the 70% area. This may reflect upon the short-term nature of all botulinum toxins versus the longer-term nature of these other procedures.
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.
There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines, crow’s feet lines, and/or forehead lines.