Medicine to help the patient relax may be given in cases where the patient has not handled shots well in the past. If the patient has another procedure coming up, these shots can often be done at this time. Let the Rehabilitation Medicine office (513-636-7480) know if a procedure or surgery will be done in the future or if sedation is being discussed for injections in the clinic setting.
Some doctors, however, say their experience with their own patients indicates Botox — which was approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat migraines — is quite effective for this purpose. Lawrence Newman, MD, a neurologist and director of the headache division at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, says many of his patients have experienced a significant decline in the number of headaches per month after receiving Botox. In many cases, he says, it has cut down that number by 50% and frequently more than that.
BOTOX (onabotulinumtoxinA) for injection is a sterile, vacuum-dried purified botulinum toxin type A, produced from fermentation of Hall strain Clostridium botulinum type A, and intended for intramuscular, intradetrusor and intradermal use. It is purified from the culture solution by dialysis and a series of acid precipitations to a complex consisting of the neurotoxin, and several accessory proteins. The complex is dissolved in sterile sodium chloride solution containing Albumin Human and is sterile filtered (0.2 microns) prior to filling and vacuum-drying.
I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.
Galli has been living with migraine for most of her adult life, but recently, her attacks became more severe and frequent. “My whole life went upside down and nothing was the same,” Galli says, upon being diagnosed with chronic migraine. “The person I used to be wasn't there anymore. I didn't even recognize myself.” To cope with the symptoms that often accompany chronic migraine, Galli found herself retreating to a dark room, waiting for the pain to pass, but it never did. In response, Galli says, she asked herself what she could do to feel better but also share her story. “Everyone around me that knew how high energy, and how much of a go-getter I am, asked what was happening? Where was that person?” When she came across the announcement of the Migraine Moment Film Contest, she saw it as her opportunity to bring awareness about what it is like to live with migraine and bust the misconceptions surrounding this invisible disease. Enter: “Invisible Hero.”
Botulinum toxin exerts its effect by cleaving key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerves which use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Once bound to the nerve terminal, the neuron takes up the toxin into a vesicle. As the vesicle moves farther into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin which triggers it to push across the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm. Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.
Botox only lasts three to six months—and yet what's less commonly discussed is this: Facial muscles naturally weaken over time and going overboard in a certain area could have unwanted consequences. "If you do too much Botox on your forehead for many, many years, the muscles will get weaker and flatter," cautions Wexler, adding that the skin can also appear thinner and looser. Moreover, as your muscles become weaker, they can start to recruit surrounding muscles when you make facial expressions. "If one stops using their forehead muscles, they may start squinting using their nose and have wrinkles along the side of their nose," she explains. Translation: You need even more Botox for the newly recruited muscles, says Wexler. To avoid these kind of missteps, researching a doctor diligently is essential, as is approaching injectables conservatively, and asking questions about how the treatment will be tailored to your needs.
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.
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”
In fertility studies of BOTOX (4, 8, or 16 Units/kg) in which either male or female rats were injected intramuscularly prior to mating and on the day of mating (3 doses, 2 weeks apart for males, 2 doses, 2 weeks apart for females) to untreated animals, reduced fertility was observed in males at the intermediate and high doses and in females at the high dose. The no -effect doses for reproductive toxicity (4 Units/kg in males, 8 Units/kg in females) are approximately equal to the maximum recommended human dose of 400 Units on a body weight basis (Units/kg).
It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to treat increased stiffness in upper limb muscles other than those in the elbow, wrist, fingers, and thumb, or in lower limb muscles other than those in the ankle and toes. BOTOX® has not been shown to help people perform task-specific functions with their upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. Treatment with BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.