If you experience migraine symptoms on 15 or more days each month, you have chronic migraines. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help ease some of your symptoms, but some patients don’t respond well to pain relievers. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe preventive medicines, which are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. According to research published in the journal Neurology, only about one-third of patients with chronic migraines take preventive medicines.
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.)
The cosmetic effect of BTX-A on wrinkles was originally documented by a plastic surgeon from Sacramento, California, Richard Clark, and published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1989. Canadian husband and wife ophthalmologist and dermatologist physicians, JD and JA Carruthers, were the first to publish a study on BTX-A for the treatment of glabellar frown lines in 1992. Similar effects had reportedly been observed by a number of independent groups (Brin, and the Columbia University group under Monte Keen.) After formal trials, on April 12, 2002, the FDA announced regulatory approval of botulinum toxin type A (Botox Cosmetic) to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). Subsequently, cosmetic use of botulinum toxin type A has become widespread. The results of Botox Cosmetic can last up to four months and may vary with each patient. The US Food and Drug Administration approved an alternative product-safety testing method in response to increasing public concern that LD50 testing was required for each batch sold in the market.
Postmarketing Experience: The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of LATISSE®: dry skin of the eyelid and/or periocular area, eye swelling, eyelid edema, hypersensitivity (local allergic reactions), lacrimation increased, madarosis and trichorrhexis (temporary loss of a few eyelashes to loss of sections of eyelashes, and temporary eyelash breakage, respectively), periorbital and lid changes associated with a deepening of the eyelid sulcus, rash (including macular and erythematous), skin discoloration (periorbital), and vision blurred.
No definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect associated with dermatologic use of BOTOX® Cosmetic at the labeled dose of 20 Units (for glabellar lines), 24 Units (for lateral canthal lines), 40 Units (for forehead lines with glabellar lines), 44 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines and glabellar lines), and 64 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines, glabellar lines, and forehead lines) have been reported.
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.
After a muscle has been injected, the nerves still send the signal to the muscle to contract, and the acetylcholine is still released, but is unable to bind to the muscle, resulting in a reduction of muscle activity and temporarily preventing contraction of the muscles that cause frown lines. The binding process typically begins within about 48 hours from the time it is injected into the muscle, and results typically become noticeable within 7 to 10 days. While results are often most noticeable in dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that appear when a muscle contracts), it can also help soften wrinkles that are present even without muscle contraction. If you’re serious about improving the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines, it may be just the right treatment option for you.
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 post-injection 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).