Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”

Properly trained, board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons separate the "forehead" area into the upper/main forehead, and the glabella, the area between the eyebrows that has the frown lines. Depending on your exact anatomy and types of lines and facial movement, you may need only 3 to 5 units total in the upper forehead area, or up to 40 units for the combined glabella... READ MORE
I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
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.
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.
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 for migraines has been something that has flown under the radar, as many people know Botox as a procedure simply aimed at hiding fine lines. We turned to Matthew S. Robbins, MD, director of inpatient services at Montefiore Headache Center and the chief of neurology at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital, Montefiore, to break down the procedure for us. Scroll down to see what he has to say.

Dysphagia occurred in 2% of subjects in the clinical trials in the setting of administration-site reactions, eg, pain, swelling, and induration of the submental area; all cases of dysphagia resolved spontaneously (range 1-81 days, median 3 days). Avoid use of KYBELLA® in patients with current or prior history of dysphagia as treatment may exacerbate the condition.

Two double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multi-center, 24-week clinical studies were conducted in patients with OAB with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and frequency (Studies OAB -1 and OAB-2). Patients needed to have at least 3 urinary urgency incontinence episodes and at least 24 micturitions in 3 days to enter the studies. A total of 1105 patients, whose symptoms had not been adequately managed with anticholinergic therapy (inadequate response or intolerable side effects), were randomized to receive either 100 Units of BOTOX (n=557), or placebo (n=548). Patients received 20 injections of study drug (5 units of BOTOX or placebo) spaced approximately 1 cm apart into the detrusor muscle.

Dosing in initial and sequential treatment sessions should be tailored to the individual patient based on the patient’s head and neck position, localization of pain, muscle hypertrophy, patient response, and adverse event history. The initial dose for a patie nt without prior use of BOTOX should be at a lower dose, with subsequent dosing adjusted based on individual response. Limiting the total dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle to 100 Units or less may decrease the occurrence of dysphagia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

"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.


Dr. Engelman says preventative is legit. “Most certainly! I do micro-injections on patients who are just starting to show the finest expression lines in order to prevent them from ever making the wrinkle." NYC-based board-certified plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, MD, is also a fan. "While Botox has a fundamental use in treating wrinkles that are already formed, it has a role in the prophylactic, or prevention, of wrinkles. So, don't think that you don't need Botox because you don't have wrinkles. If you want to keep that smooth skin, start with Botox before they form."
I usually keep my patients on migraine preventative medications until we have seen sufficient relief of migraine to warrant a taper to a lower dose or even an attempt at medication discontinuation. Patients are free to use their typical migraine abortive medications for breakthrough migraines. There are some patients that find that they still require their other anti-migraine medications for full migraine control.

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%).
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But it could be something else altogether. In 2008, Matteo Caleo, a researcher at the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, published a controversial study showing that when he injected the muscles of rats with Botox, he found evidence of the drug in the brain stem. He also injected Botox into one side of the brain in mice and found that it spread to the opposite side. That suggested the toxin could access the nervous system and the brain.

Though botulinum toxin is available under different names, Botox is the only one that is FDA-approved for migraine prevention. To be considered for Botox, patients must have migraines 15 days or more per month, which is considered chronic daily migraine. About 4 million Americans have such migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Also, patients must have tried and failed on at least 2 other medications first.


In clinical trials, 30.6% of patients (33/108) who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to injection, required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 200 Units as compared to 6.7% of patients (7/104) treated with placebo. The median duration of postinjection catheterization for these patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units (n = 33) was 289 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 530 days) as compared to a median duration of 358 days (minimum 2 days to maximum 379 days) for patients receiving placebo (n = 7).
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.

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Study 2 compared 3 doses of BOTOX with placebo and included 91 patients [BOTOX 360 Units (N=21), BOTOX 180 Units (N=23), BOTOX 90 Units (N=21), and placebo (N=26)] with upper limb spasticity (expanded Ashworth score of at least 2 for elbow flexor tone and at least 3 for wrist flexor tone) who were at least 6 weeks post-stroke. BOTOX and placebo were injected with EMG guidance into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum sublimis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and bic eps brachii (see Table 27).

Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start, but takes time to work. “I look to the second and third treatments to maximize effects,” says Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld. “Patients see increasing benefit with an increase in the number of treatment cycles.” One treatment lasts for 10-12 weeks, and patients reported that two Botox treatments reduced the number of headache days by approximately 50%.


Contrary to popular belief, the bacteria that causes botulism, clostridium botulinum, is not part of the treatment, nor are six of the seven neurotoxins it secretes. The only substance used in Botox injections, botulinum toxin A, is carefully extracted, purified, and standardized into FDA-approved doses. Plus, the dosage is so small, it can't get beyond the muscle tissue it's injected into, meaning there's little if any chance for Botox to reach the bloodstream.
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.
Twenty two adult patients, enrolled in double-blind placebo controlled studies, received 400 Units or higher of BOTOX for treatment of upper limb spasticity. In addition, 44 adults received 400 Units of BOTOX or higher for four consecutive treatments over approximately one year for treatment of upper limb spasticity. The type and frequency of ad verse reactions observed in patients treated with 400 Units of BOTOX were similar to those reported in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with 360 Units of BOTOX.
Co-administration of BOTOX® or other agents interfering with neuromuscular transmission (eg, aminoglycosides, curare-like compounds) should only be performed with caution as the effect of the toxin may be potentiated. Use of anticholinergic drugs after administration of BOTOX® may potentiate systemic anticholinergic effects. The effect of administering different botulinum neurotoxin products at the same time or within several months of each other is unknown. Excessive neuromuscular weakness may be exacerbated by administration of another botulinum toxin prior to the resolution of the effects of a previously administered botulinum toxin. Excessive weakness may also be exaggerated by administration of a muscle relaxant before or after administration of BOTOX®.

Dysphagia occurred in 2% of subjects in the clinical trials in the setting of administration-site reactions, eg, pain, swelling, and induration of the submental area; all cases of dysphagia resolved spontaneously (range 1-81 days, median 3 days). Avoid use of KYBELLA® in patients with current or prior history of dysphagia as treatment may exacerbate the condition.
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases.[11] The active form consists of a two-chain protein composed of a 100-kDa heavy chain polypeptide joined via disulfide bond to a 50-kDa light chain polypeptide.[35] The heavy chain contains domains with several functions: it has the domain responsible for binding specifically to presynaptic nerve terminals, as well as the domain responsible for mediating translocation of the light chain into the cell cytoplasm as the vacuole acidifies.[1][35] The light chain is a zinc metalloprotease and is the active part of the toxin. It is translocated into the host cell cytoplasm where it cleaves the host protein SNAP-25, a member of the SNARE protein family which is responsible for fusion. The cleaved SNAP-25 is unable to mediate fusion of vesicles with the host cell membrane, thus preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings.[1] This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.[1]
Over the next three decades, 1895-1925, as food canning was approaching a billion-dollar-a-year industry, botulism was becoming a public health hazard. Karl Friedrich Meyer, a prodigiously productive Swiss-American veterinary scientist created a center at the Hooper Foundation in San Francisco, where he developed techniques for growing the organism and extracting the toxin, and conversely, for preventing organism growth and toxin production, and inactivating the toxin by heating. The California canning industry was thereby preserved.
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.”
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.
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.
Botox often gets a bad rep for leaving patients looking a little frozen, but that's the fault of bad technique, not necessarily the procedure itself, explains Day. "In many places where it's not a trained aesthetic physician doing the injection, it's really just inject by number," she says. The problem with this is that no two faces, or even two sides of a face, are the same. "That cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach is what often gives these treatments a bad name," says Day.
In both studies, significant improvements compared to placebo in the primary efficacy variable of change from baseline in wee kly frequency of incontinence episodes were observed for BOTOX (200 Units) at the primary efficacy time point at week 6. Increases in maximum cystometric capacity and reductions in maximum detrusor pressure during the first involuntary detrusor contraction we re also observed. These primary and secondary endpoints are shown in Tables 21 and 22, and Figures 7 and 8.
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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.[1] Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.[1]
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
My patients who do respond say that it is absolutely worth it. For people who can’t get their headaches under control with the usual medications, or who suffer from problematic side effects from those drugs, Botox can be a great option. For many of my patients, it has reduced their medication needs and restored their ability to function in their jobs and families.

BOTOX® can be used on the forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, bunny lines (lines in the nose), chin (for dimpling), skin bands on the neck, and around the mouth (for smoker’s lines and down-turned corners of the mouth). Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity often will not respond to BOTOX®. It is important to re-emphasize that BOTOX® is NOT a facial filler (that is, it does not fill existing wrinkles) – it merely relaxes the muscles that are creating those wrinkles.


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.

So what exactly are you putting into your face? John Paul Tutela, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, explains, “Botox is a cosmetic injectable neurotoxin that is a very diluted form of Botulinum Toxin, which is found in the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In this diluted format, it is used to relax your muscles—typically in your forehead, in between your eyebrows, and around your eyes.” The idea is that if you temporarily block local nerve impulses to specific muscles within your face, you won’t make certain facial expressions, so you won’t form the wrinkles that come with them, explains dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD. These are the 7 signs you’re ready for Botox? (And 6 signs you aren’t.)


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.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of BOTOX. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These reactions include: abdominal pain; alopecia, including madarosis; anorexia; brachial plexopathy; denervation/muscle atrophy; diarrhea; hyperhidrosis; hypoacusis; hypoaesthesia; malaise; paresthesia; peripheral neuropathy; radiculopathy; erythema multiforme, dermatitis psoriasiform, and psoriasiform eruption; strabismus; tinnitus; and visual disturbances.

Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, says that step therapy is driven by a single motivator: saving costs. Hoffman, who’s written about the legal and ethical implications of step therapy, says that sometimes step therapy can have sensible outcomes, like pushing patients to take generics instead of brand-name drugs. But these policies can also keep doctors from prescribing the more expensive drugs of choice, forcing patients to take medications that are less effective or have worse side effects.
“I don’t think it is physically addictive,” says Dr. Matarasso. “But, I have to be very frank with you, when I get a new patient I tell them (and I say this tongue-in-cheek) this product is truly addictive. I make jokes with my patients that we need a 12-step program for it, because when it’s done correctly, it’s a very simple office procedure, with impressive cosmetic results.”
In the mid- to late-1990’s dermatologists were the first to report headache relief to migraineurs who were receiving BOTOX injections to reduce facial (forehead) wrinkles. Initially there was significant controversy about whether BOTOX really did help migraine patients. The use of BOTOX for treatment of tension headaches was studied and found to be no more effective than placebo. With migraines, it was more complex. In 2009 the data showed that BOTOX injected in particular areas of the head and neck in patients who met the International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria for chronic migraine provided sufficient benefit to recommend the treatment modality. In 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX for chronic migraine and recommended the protocol of injections and treatment frequency that had been successful in the studies.
Serious adverse reactions, including excessive weakness, dysphagia, and aspiration pneumonia, with some adverse reactions associated with fatal outcomes, have been reported in patients who received BOTOX injections for unapproved uses. In these cases, the adverse reactions were not necessarily related to distant spread of toxin, but may have resulted from the administration of BOTOX to the site of injection and/or adjacent structures. In several of the cases, patients had pre-existing dysphagia or other significant disabilities. There is insufficient information to identify factors associated with an increased risk for adverse reactions a ssociated with the unapproved uses of BOTOX. The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX for unapproved uses have not been established.
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For blepharospasm, reconstituted BOTOX is injected using a sterile, 27-30 gauge needle without electromyographic guidance. The initial recommended dose is 1.25 Units-2.5 Units (0.05 mL to 0.1 mL volume at each site) injected into the medial and lateral pre tarsal orbicularis oculi of the upper lid and into the lateral pre-tarsal orbicularis oculi of the lower lid. Avoiding injection near the levator palpebrae superioris may reduce the complication of ptosis. Avoiding medial lower lid injections, and thereby reducin g diffusion into the inferior oblique, may reduce the complication of diplopia. Ecchymosis occurs easily in the soft eyelid tissues. This can be prevented by applying pressure at the injection site immediately after the injection.

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.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.
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The seven toxin types (A-G) have different tertiary structures and sequence differences.[35][36] While the different toxin types all target members of the SNARE family, different toxin types target different SNARE family members.[34] The A, B, and E serotypes cause human botulism, with the activities of types A and B enduring longest in vivo (from several weeks to months).[35]
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