Both Aetna and HealthPartners tell The Verge in an email that they don’t require patients to try verapamil specifically. “Verapamil is just one of many options available to treat migraines. Some are FDA-approved, others are not,” says Becca Johnson, a spokesperson for HealthPartners. Patients are required to try other oral medications because they’re either cheaper or not as invasive as getting Botox injections. “The rationale is that these medications are generally effective and safe,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesperson for Aetna.
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In a recent Facebook Live, our new director Nim Lalvani introduced herself to the migraine community. If you missed our Facebook Live, watch the recording below or read on to learn more about Lalvani’s personal connection to migraine and her plans for the Foundation. [embed]https://www.facebook.com/americanmigrainefoundation/videos/290329171553466/[/embed] In the short time that Lalvani has worked at AMF, she’s been impressed by the strong and vibrant community of doctors, patients and advocates. Lalvani’s background is in public health, and she has dedicated her career to patient engagement. She has worked in the nonprofit and patient advocacy spaces for more than 12 years, helping patients at both the national and international level. “I've specifically focused my career on designing and providing the rights tools and resources for patients at the times that they need it most,” she shared, adding that her goal is to amplify patients’ voices in research and therapeutic development.
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.
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.
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.
With this in mind, the average cost for treating forehead lines varies from approximately $200 to $600. Patients with fine lines or smaller facial muscles won’t require as many units of Botox to achieve a successful outcome, whereas patients with stronger facial muscles (such as pronounced corrugator muscles which cause deeper frown lines) could require more.
BTX-A is now a common treatment for muscles affected by the upper motor neuron syndrome (UMNS), such as cerebral palsy, for muscles with an impaired ability to effectively lengthen. Muscles affected by UMNS frequently are limited by weakness, loss of reciprocal inhibition, decreased movement control and hypertonicity (including spasticity). In January 2014, Botulinum toxin was approved by UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the treatment of ankle disability due to lower limb spasticity associated with stroke in adults.[19] Joint motion may be restricted by severe muscle imbalance related to the syndrome, when some muscles are markedly hypertonic, and lack effective active lengthening. Injecting an overactive muscle to decrease its level of contraction can allow improved reciprocal motion, so improved ability to move and exercise.
When receiving Botox, it’s critical to know what you’re getting and to be sure that you get what you pay for. Usually, the cost of Botox is calculated on a per unit basis. This is the preferred option of many patients and surgeons as you only pay for the units of Botox used to treat any given area. This means that if you only require ten units to correct your forehead wrinkles, you simply pay for ten units at the specified price and that’s it.
"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."
In detrusor overactivity associated with neurologic condition patients with analyzed specimens in the drug development program (including the open-label extension study), neutralizing antibodies developed in 3 of 300 patients (1.0%) after receiving only BOTOX 200 Unit doses and 5 of 258 patients (1.9%) after receiving at least one 300 Unit dose. Following development of neutralizing antibodies in these 8 patients, 4 continued to experience clinical benefit, 2 did not experience clinical benefit, and the effect on the response to BOTOX in the remaining 2 patients is not known.

There's been a pivotal shift in how women in their 20s look at their faces. And while the reasons are arguably as multi-faceted as this new generation itself, many would agree on one thing: The impact of social media, from selfies to YouTube videos to meticulously crafted Snapchat and Insta Stories, combined with endlessly retouched photographs in magazines and ad campaigns, can not be underestimated. From the constant stream of supernaturally smooth jawlines and chiseled cheekbones to celebrity plastic surgeons posting before-and-after images of their work, the age of 24/7 self-documentation has spurred a novel set of beauty ideals—and, with it, a dramatic increase in cosmetic procedures. For 20-somethings, there's no treatment more popular—or controversial—than Botox. Need proof? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, botulinum toxin procedures have increased 28 percent since 2010 amongst 20 to 29-year-olds.


Botox costs can vary anywhere from $200 to $400 or more depending on the physician, location, units purchased, desired profit margin, ongoing promotions, etc. Many doctor's offices price Botox based on cost per unit, but others price Botox injections based on the area of the injection. Whether Botox is charged by the unit or by the area might not matter that much if the Botox treatment is effective, but if you want to know exactly how much you are paying for your treatment, you need to know the number of units of Botox per treatment and the cost per unit. (An honest practice will not hesitate to give you this information if you ask.)

"For a senior leadership team that has presided over significant value destruction due in no small part to a series of poorly thought out transactions and unforced errors, entrusting the same leadership team with the task of driving value recovery via further M&A is hardly confidence inspiring in our view, to say nothing of the message it sends to shareholders regarding accountability (or more notably lack thereof)," Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem wrote in a note on Wednesday.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled patients who had extended histories of receiving and tolerating BOTOX injections, with prior individualized adjustment of dose. The mean BOTOX dose administered to patients in this study was 236 Units (25th to 75th percentile range of 198 Units to 300 Units). The BOTOX dose was divided among the affected muscles [see Clinical 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.
The patient is placed in a somewhat raised position on the exam table, and the areas to be injected are cleansed with a nonalcohol cleanser, such as Hibiclens or Betadine. Some physicians will apply a topical anesthetic, such as EMLA cream or some alternative, at this time. The Botox is then injected into the desired areas. Typical injection patterns include about four or five areas on each side of the forehead and two or three areas on either eye area. More areas can be injected by skilled physicians, depending on the type of wrinkles and the desired effect for the patient. It is common for pressure to be applied if an area seems to be bleeding after the injection. While ice is sometimes applied beforehand for comfort reasons, direct pressure is much more effective than ice for control of bleeding and bruising.
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