Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) received FDA approval for treatment of chronic migraines on October 15, 2010. The toxin is injected into the head and neck to treat these chronic headaches. Approval followed evidence presented to the agency from two studies funded by Allergan showing a very slight improvement in incidence of chronic migraines for migraine sufferers undergoing the Botox treatment.
Not to be evasive, but the cost varies between physicians depending on how much Allergan product they purchase in a year. In general, it will probably be from $500 to $550 for a 100 unit vial. The equipment required to properly inject botox is not cheap, since it takes specialized syringes and needles that aid in precision and comfort. And properly trained staff and appropriately-medical... READ MORE
It’s been a little over three weeks. The neurologist said that after two weeks, my migraines and headaches should be substantially reduced. I haven’t spoken about it much even to people close to me because I didn’t want to jinx it, but right around the two-week mark, my headaches faded. I did have a migraine the day after the injections, followed by a lingering headache for about a week, but my neurologist didn’t think it was caused by the Botox. I know my body and have a feeling it was, especially because the introduction or removal of medication can exacerbate lupus symptoms and flares, so I was put on a prednisone taper just to be safe.
Besides the three primary U.S. manufacturers, there are numerous other botulinum toxin producers. Xeomin, manufactured in Germany by Merz, is also available for both therapeutic and cosmetic use in the U.S. Lanzhou Institute of Biological Products in China manufactures a BTX-A product; as of 2014 it was the only BTX-A approved in China. BTX-A is also sold as Lantox and Prosigne on the global market. Neuronox, a BTX-A product, was introduced by Medy-Tox Inc. of South Korea in 2009;
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.
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
“I see a lot of patients who come in from sun damage, or who have creases in their foreheads, more lines around the sides of their mouths, crow's feet, and wrinkles on the side of their nose,” Shah says. “At this age, a dermatologist can inject Botox in the right places to help train a person’s face to no longer fall into that habit, which can help decrease the odds that they’ll develop permanent wrinkles in those spots later on.”
Aesthetician Mary Schook is anti-Botox because she sees the long-term effects on her clients. “Everyone is always like, ‘Look how great this looks,’ and then there is the long-term and they are like, 'Fix me,'” she says. “Allergan [the company that owns Botox] says one in 100 patients gets eyelid-drop, so I always joke, ‘I must meet one in 100 patients, because everyone I see has that drop.'”
The most frequently reported adverse reactions following injection of BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine vs placebo include, respectively: neck pain (9% vs 3%), headache (5% vs 3%), eyelid ptosis (4% vs < 1%), migraine (4% vs 3%), muscular weakness (4% vs < 1%), musculoskeletal stiffness (4% vs 1%), bronchitis (3% vs 2%), injection-site pain (3% vs 2%), musculoskeletal pain (3% vs 1%), myalgia (3% vs 1%), facial paresis (2% vs 0%), hypertension (2% vs 1%), and muscle spasms (2% vs 1%).
That said, there are a few things I'd make sure everyone knows before trying it. For one thing, it can be pretty painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but getting 30 to 40 shots every three months is pretty rough — it feels a bit like getting tattooed with a bee's stinger, but once the needle is out of your skin, the pain goes away, and if it works for you, it's worth it. It's also important to know that it can take some time to work. The first treatment barely worked at all for me, and the second round took a few weeks. If you're going to try it out, be patient.
BOTOX® Cosmetic targets one of the underlying causes of frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead lines — the repeated muscle contractions from frowning, squinting, smiling and raising the eyebrows over the years. Your specialist will inject these muscles with BOTOX® Cosmetic to temporarily reduce muscle activity. You will begin to notice a visible smoothing of the frown lines between your brows, your crow’s feet lines and your forehead lines.
Kybella helps patients lose their dreaded double chin and regain the taut, sculpted profile of their youth. The ingredients in Kybella are naturally made by the body, which means that you’re very likely to be satisfied with the results. It works by destroying the fat cells under the chin, making them unable to store fat any longer. Each treatment only requires 15-20 minutes, which leaves enough time to grab some sushi before you head back to the office. You’ll pay out somewhere between $1200 and $1800, but a chin tuck can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4000. Plus, Kybella doesn’t require the healing time that traditional skin liposuction does.
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.
Over time, the muscles above and between the eyebrows repeatedly contract and tighten, causing wrinkles. Botox Cosmetic works beneath the skin’s surface and targets the underlying muscle activity that causes frown lines and crow’s feet to form over time. Normally when we squint, frown, or make other facial expressions, our nerves release a neurotransmitter chemical, known as acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter binds to receptors within the muscle to make it contract. Wrinkle relaxers like Botox and DYSPORT® work by binding to the acetylcholine receptors, and blocking the signal from the nerve to the muscles.
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.
Jump up ^ Mangera A, Andersson KE, Apostolidis A, Chapple C, Dasgupta P, Giannantoni A, Gravas S, Madersbacher S (October 2011). "Contemporary management of lower urinary tract disease with botulinum toxin A: a systematic review of botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) and dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA)". European Urology. 60 (4): 784–95. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2011.07.001. PMID 21782318.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including: plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; have trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breast-feeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).