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.

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Botulinum toxin is used to treat certain eye disorders such as crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrolled blinking (blepharospasm), to treat muscle stiffness/spasms or movement disorders (such as cervical dystonia, torticollis), and to reduce the cosmetic appearance of wrinkles. It is also used to prevent headaches in people with very frequent migraines. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscle by blocking the release of a chemical called acetylcholine.
Extraocular muscles adjacent to the injection site can be affected, causing vertical deviation, especially with higher do ses of BOTOX. The incidence rates of these adverse effects in 2058 adults who received a total of 3650 injections for horizontal strabismus was 17%. The incidence of ptosis has been reported to be dependent on the location of the injected muscles, 1% after inferior rectus injections, 16% after horizontal rectus injections and 38% after superior rectus injections.
Botox stays only where injected, it does not roam through the body. "If I inject it in your face, it's not going to work [or show up in] your toe," says Rowe. "It does not have a systemic effect." However, it may migrate up to 3 cm from where it was injected. But even if some molecules were to go into the bloodstream and travel to distant sites in the body, the cosmetic doses (typically less than 100 units) used are significantly lower than the toxic dose that would be harmful systemically (2,500-3,000 units).

Intradetrusor injection of BOTOX® is contraindicated in patients with overactive bladder or detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition who have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Intradetrusor injection of BOTOX® is also contraindicated in patients with urinary retention and in patients with post-void residual (PVR) urine volume > 200 mL, who are not routinely performing clean intermittent self-catheterization (CIC).

Most insurance providers now cover the expense of Botox injections when they’re used to treat chronic migraines. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance won’t cover the cost of the procedure, it may cost you several thousand dollars. Before you begin receiving injections, talk to your insurance company. In some cases, they may require you to undergo other procedures or tests before they will cover the costs of Botox treatments.
As with any drug, Allergan is legally required to make known Botox's most severe potential side effects, and in 2009 the FDA required Botox to bear a black-box warning--the strongest type of warning label given to any drug--cautioning that there was evidence the drug had been linked to serious side effects. With Botox, this includes effects spreading from the injection site to other parts of the body, causing muscle weakness, double vision and drooping eyelids.
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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.”
    Some skin care centers advertise low prices for Botox on a "cost per area" basis, advertising prices of $200-$300 for one area. The doctor we spoke to recommends getting price quotes on a "cost per unit" basis, because some places might be quoting lower prices but giving you smaller treatments, which may be less effective and require more frequent visits.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is administered to one site in the procerus muscle. The procerus injection site is approximately midway between the two corrugator injections. In order to confirm the location of the procerus muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow, which will activate the belly of the muscle causing the medial furrowing to occur. Once identified, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected superficially into the belly of the muscle at a 90° angle to ensure the injection is administered into the procerus rather than the frontalis. Injections placed too superiorly may inadvertently lead to penetration of the frontalis muscle.

Botox injections for migraines have been proven to reduce the intensity and duration of migraines for those who suffer. Botox was developed in the 1970s by an ophthalmologist who was looking to develop a treatment for strabismus (crossed eyes). This simple migraine treatment was discovered accidentally when people undergoing plastic surgery also experienced migraine relief. While they don’t work for everyone, Botox injections for migraines offer another way to approach treatment of migraine headaches.
Results can vary depending on who is performing the injection on the patient. It is very important to go to a physician who is experienced at this procedure, does it him- or herself (rather than having a nurse, physician's assistant [PA], or other nonphysician do it), and has a good reputation for performing this type of procedure. The manufacturers of Botox recommend physicians inject the medication themselves. As with most procedures, the skill of the practitioner is related to how often he or she performs the procedure.
Unlike a face lift or other kind of invasive facial rejuvenation procedure, treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime. Using a very fine needle, Botox is injected into the facial muscles that are responsible for unsightly wrinkles and fine lines and relaxes the muscles. The ingredients in Botox block the signal from the nerve to the muscle, and therefore reduce it’s ability to contract, and form unsightly wrinkles.
Botox can be bought by essentially any person with a DEA certificate. Allergan sells it in 50 and 100 unit vials. They are shipped overnight delivery on dry ice to keep the toxin effective it should be opened, reconstituted and used the same day ideally. The Botox will work best this way. Price points will change by who the injector is and what their motives are. Botox can be reconstituted so that you getting a very dilute amount of product. So a by the area approach may really only give you a small amount of product. Or you could be getting old Botox that is a week old and will not last for very long.
The one side effect that we most commonly see with Botox for migraine, ironically, is increased headache pain in the days immediately following the injections. Interestingly, some patients have the opposite effect, noticing immediate pain relief. That may be due to an acupuncture-like response, where poking needles into unhappy muscles actually makes them feel better.

Finding an experienced practitioner is particularly important if you’ve never had Botox treatments before as he or she will devise an optimal treatment plan to address your forehead wrinkles. Furthermore, with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon you’ll be far less likely to experience any side effects like pain, bruising around the injection site, droopy eyelids, or mistakenly be administered too much Botox, leaving your face looking frozen for the next several months.


This site is intended for US consumers. No information on this site is provided with the intention to give medical advice or instructions on the accurate use of Allergan products. Allergan cannot answer unsolicited emails requesting personal medical advice; visitors should always consult a healthcare professional. Please visit the Allergan site of your country of residence for information concerning Allergan products and services available there.

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