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I had no idea my health insurance could take Botox away from me. I checked Cigna’s policy and found out that in order to continue receiving Botox coverage after one year, I need to get at least seven fewer migraine days — or at least 100 fewer migraine hours — per month compared to pre-Botox treatments. (I keep a diary to record when I have migraines.) Worse still, if I were to change my job — and therefore change my health insurance — my new insurance could ask me to run through the cheap medication gauntlet again before covering Botox.
The potency Units of BOTOX (onabotulinumtoxinA) for injection are specific to the preparation and assay method utilized. They are not interchangeable with other preparations of botulinum toxin products and, therefore, units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into units of any other botulinum toxin products assessed with any other specific assay method [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DESCRIPTION] .
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Bronchitis was reported more frequently as an adverse reaction in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with BOTOX® (3% at 251 Units to 360 Units total dose) compared to placebo (1%). In patients with reduced lung function treated for upper limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were also reported more frequently as adverse reactions in patients treated with BOTOX® (11% at 360 Units total dose; 8% at 240 Units total dose) compared to placebo (6%). In adult patients treated for lower limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were reported more frequently as an adverse event in patients treated with BOTOX® (2% at 300 Units to 400 Units total dose), compared to placebo (1%).
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.
On November 23, 2015, Allergan and Pfizer announced their intention to merge in a $160 billion transaction, the largest pharmaceutical deal and the third largest merger in history.[19] On April 5, 2016, after the Obama administration announced its plan to ban tax inversions, Pfizer terminated the acquisition and paid Allergan a $150 million breakup fee.[20]

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.


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.
The last thing I've found to be a little frustrating is that my body tends to metabolize the Botox a bit faster than I can get it. While Ravitz tells me I can't get the treatment any more frequently than every three months, because that's the rate at which the body can develop antibodies against it, I find my migraines amping up in frequency again about two to two and a half months after I get the shots. However, given the fact that with the Botox, my migraines have gone down from about four a week to one or two at most, it's absolutely increased my quality of life, and I'm glad I gave it a shot...or 40.
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.
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Other than that, there don’t seem to be any specific groups of people or health conditions that are contraindicated for Botox injections. As with all treatments, general health guidelines apply. People with a healthy body-mass index who are non-smokers, moderate or non-drinkers, and physically active will nearly always tolerate any type of medical treatment well.
In some cases known as off-label use, doctors are safely administering it for conditions other than what it is officially approved for, including prostate issues, and eye-crossing (known medically as strabismus) cerebral palsy—which had my jaw on the floor. Rowe even went on to tell me it's the drug of the twenty-first century. "It's like Tylenol or aspirin," he marveled to SELF. "It's what penicillin was in the mid-twentieth century."
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.
I would caution against shopping around for cheap Botox. There are practitioners than offer bargain prices that are not sustainable from a business standpoint. They may be diluting their Botox or injecting less units than advertised.  Also, some practitioners charge less per unit of Botox but inject significantly more Botox than is required to achieve the optimal outcome. For instance, 60 units of Botox at $10/unit is more expensive than 45 well placed units at $12/unit. 
"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.

BOTOX® is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause a form of muscle paralysis known as botulism, which is usually associated with food poisoning. Even though one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted (weakened) amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles, causing controlled relaxation of the muscles.
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.
When women in their 20's first consider getting Botox, prevention is often the primary factor, since the early signs of aging—such as crow's feet, forehead wrinkles, and fine lines—are beginning to show. "Lines get deeper and deeper with age," explains Wexler. "If you start [getting Botox] early enough and it's done properly, you're not going to need [as much] in the future." For younger patients wary of the frozen look—remember, youthful faces move—Wexler likes to employ lower doses of Botox via ultra-targeted micro injections administered on specific areas of the face such as the forehead, brows, or around the eyes.
"In the majority of these cases, it's the doctors at the front line who start using Botox off-label, and then we see the treatment of things we never expected the toxin to work for," says Min Dong, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who studies botulinum toxins in the lab and has no financial ties to Allergan. "I meet with physicians who are using the toxin everywhere--for diseases you would never know about."

Botox injections use onaboutlinumtoxin A, also known as the botulinum toxin, injected in small amounts to certain points in the head to treat migraine headaches, tension headaches, and chronic daily headaches. This treatment has been shown to be most effective for headaches that are located in the forehead and neck. Botox has also been used to treat the following conditions:
Side effects from cosmetic use generally result from unintended paralysis of facial muscles. These include partial facial paralysis, muscle weakness, and trouble swallowing. Side effects are not limited to direct paralysis however, and can also include headaches, flu-like symptoms, and allergic reactions.[27] Just as cosmetic treatments only last a number of months, paralysis side-effects can have the same durations.[citation needed] At least in some cases, these effects are reported to dissipate in the weeks after treatment.[citation needed] Bruising at the site of injection is not a side effect of the toxin but rather of the mode of administration, and is reported as preventable if the clinician applies pressure to the injection site; when it occurs, it is reported in specific cases to last 7–11 days.[citation needed] When injecting the masseter muscle of the jaw, loss of muscle function can result in a loss or reduction of power to chew solid foods.[27]

Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
In 1895 (seventy-five years later), Émile van Ermengem, professor of bacteriology and a student of Robert Koch, correctly described Clostridium botulinum as the bacterial source of the toxin. Thirty-four attendees at a funeral were poisoned by eating partially salted ham, an extract of which was found to cause botulism-like paralysis in laboratory animals. Van Ermengem isolated and grew the bacterium, and described its toxin,[40] which was later purified by P Tessmer Snipe and Hermann Sommer.[41]

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.
The other method of calculating the cost of Botox is to pay by the area being treated. Doctors will specify the total cost for a designated region of the face -- for example, in the United States it should cost between $250 and $500 to treat horizontal forehead lines. However, it’s important to note that the forehead is treated as two seperate areas--the forehead lines that run horizontally across the forehead, and the frown lines that appear at the glabella. If you were to pay per area treated you would need to pay for two different areas. This method of pricing can sometimes mean you pay for more than what you need, especially if you don’t have deeply-etched wrinkles. At the same time, there’s an advantage to knowing how much the treatment will cost before you undergo the procedure, leaving no room for any unwelcome surprises.

A concern of both parents and children is whether these injections will be painful. There is no pain linked to the action of the toxin itself, only with the needle injections. To lessen this problem, the skin where the injections will be done is coated with EMLA cream before the procedure . A topical coolant spray is also used right before the needle is put in. This numbs the skin. The child may still feel pressure from the needle and a dull feeling in the muscle. The fact that a child is having a procedure done and is being held in place can upset a child more than the needle going in, even more so for preschool-aged children.
Above all, I try to be gentle with myself and my children. It’s easier said than done.  Mom guilt and migraine guilt weigh heavy on my heart, and I continue to remind myself that I’m doing my best. I give myself a break as I do with my children when they’re having a bad day. I’m patient with them and try to give myself the same respect.  As a mom, it seems like my job is never done and that I can always do better. The reality is, no one is perfect, and we all have our flaws. We don’t expect our children to be perfect, and we should not expect ourselves to be. We do what we can when we can and take each day as it comes. I find joy in the smallest things and find that being grateful and mindful remind me off all the blessings I have, despite my unpredictable and chronic migraine attacks.

Most doctors who provide cosmetic services such as BOTOX® treatments accept payment by various methods, including cash, personal check, major credit cards, or through arrangements made with an established lending institution. Some practices even offer their own financing plans. Don’t be afraid to inquire about BOTOX® treatment financing during your initial consultation.


Tell your doctor if you received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
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Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.


Ophthalmologists specializing in eye muscle disorders (strabismus) had developed the method of EMG-guided injection (using the electromyogram, the electrical signal from an activated muscle, to guide injection) of local anesthetics as a diagnostic technique for evaluating an individual muscle’s contribution to an eye movement.[44] Because strabismus surgery frequently needed repeating, a search was undertaken for non-surgical, injection treatments using various anesthetics, alcohols, enzymes, enzyme blockers, and snake neurotoxins. Finally, inspired by Daniel Drachman’s work with chicks at Johns Hopkins,[45] Alan B Scott and colleagues injected botulinum toxin into monkey extraocular muscles.[46] The result was remarkable: a few picograms induced paralysis that was confined to the target muscle, long in duration, and without side-effects.
How long the results from a Botox treatment last depends on the dosage and application. If Botox is too diluted and you don't get the proper units of Botox injected, the results might not last very long at all. If you get Botox for the wrong kind of wrinkles (i.e. static wrinkles) or an improper dose for your anatomy, you might not see much improvement either. In general, if the right amount of Botox is injected by a skilled doctor in the right muscles, Botox results can last 3-4 months.
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).
Proper refrigeration at temperatures below 3 °C (38 °F) retards the growth of Clostridium botulinum. The organism is also susceptible to high salt, high oxygen, and low pH levels.[citation needed] The toxin itself is rapidly destroyed by heat, such as in thorough cooking.[72] The spores that produce the toxin are heat-tolerant and will survive boiling water for an extended period of time.[73]
The safety and efficacy of onabotulinumtoxinA for CM was demonstrated in the pivotal phase III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) trial. In this trial, patients were treated every 12 weeks whether or not their headaches had returned to baseline levels and the primary outcome period was after two treatment cycles. At baseline, these patients had more than 19 headache days, and after two treatment cycles, their headaches had been reduced by 8 to 9 days per 28 days. The responder rate analysis of the study population shows that about 25% of patients improved by 75% in terms of a reduction of migraine days. In my practice, I usually do three cycles 12 weeks apart, and only if there is no change in headache frequency after this, do I change treatments. In the pivotal trials, the first statistical separation from placebo occurred in the first 4 weeks. There is a small subgroup of patients who fail to respond to the first two treatments and only start to respond after the third treatment.4-10
With small children, I find that being prepared allows us to function better.  My family food preps for the week with fruits, veggies and snack-size portions. I keep the snacks on a shelf that my children can easily reach, so they can choose a healthy option if they’re hungry and I’m unable to get up. Meals are well-thought-out and prepared ahead of time, in case of a migraine attack. I always have a back-up plan for my children. I have alternative arrangements for them after school if I am unable to care for them or myself. I also have activities planned. I keep crafts around that occupy my children’s time but also keep sound and stress to a minimum. We color, build Legos and play with Play-Doh all while sitting in rooms with strategically placed lights and brightness. I save screen time for when I need a few moments of quiet. We keep a routine and schedule, but also stay flexible. A schedule allows my family to know what to expect for our days and evenings. My children are able to continue their day if I have a migraine attack because they know what needs to be done and in what order. We have strict bedtimes that allow my children’s brains to grow and mine to recover. Along with this, I have taught them that moms don’t always feel well, and we may need to adjust the schedule from time to time to accommodate my migraine. I keep medication that can fight a migraine attack with me for use on the go and safely at home. I see a neurologist on a regular basis who helps me manage my migraine symptoms and medication.
As you noted in your question, the effects of Botox don't last forever. For some patients the short term effects of Botox are a ‘good thing,’ as it means that trying Botox is a relatively low risk/low commitment procedure. If you don't like your Botox results, there's not much to worry about: They will fade on their own in a few months. Generally speaking, the results last between three to five months -- but the duration of the Botox effect depends on the individual and on how many Botox units were used.
Botox is an injectable drug made from a toxic bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When you eat the toxin produced by this bacterium, it causes a life-threatening form of food poisoning, known as botulism. But when you inject it into your body, it causes different symptoms. It blocks certain chemical signals from your nerves, causing temporary paralysis of your muscles.
Botox essentially paralyzes the muscles and stops them from contracting. Results are visible within one week after treatment and remain for a minimum of three months. Some surgeons suggest that Zytaze, a new prescription zinc supplement, can extend these results if taken in the days leading up to your Botox injections. Ask your doctor about Zytaze before your next Botox injection.

On July 29, 2016, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of the United States of America approved abobotulinumtoxinA for injection for the treatment of lower limb spasticity in pediatric patients two years of age and older.[20] AbobotulinumtoxinA is the first and only FDA-approved botulinum toxin for the treatment of pediatric lower limb spasticity. In the United States of America, the FDA approves the text of the labels of prescription medicines. The FDA approves which medical conditions the drug manufacturer may sell the drug for. However, those approved by the FDA to prescribe these drugs may freely prescribe them for any condition they wish, called off-label use. Botulinum toxins have been used off-label for several pediatric conditions, including infantile esotropia.[21]

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