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.

In recent years, a number of high-profile lawsuits have been brought against Allergan in which plaintiffs claimed that off-label uses--for ailments including a child's cerebral-palsy symptoms, for instance, or an adult's hand tremors--resulted in lasting deleterious side effects. Still, the drug's acceptance in a growing number of doctors' offices worldwide, and its revenue growth, show no signs of slowing.


A placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized post-approval 52 week study (Study NDO-3) was conducted in MS patients with urinary incontinence due to neurogenic detrusor overactivity who were not adequately managed with at least one anticholinergic agent and not catheterizing at baseline. These patients were randomized to receive either 100 Units of BOTOX (n=66) or placebo (n=78).
Ray Chester, an attorney in Austin who has represented several plaintiffs in lawsuits against Allergan, says that just about all the cases he has handled involved off-label use of the drug. In 2014 a New York couple argued that Botox, which they chose to try off-label to treat their son's cerebral-palsy symptoms, caused life-threatening complications. The family was awarded $6.75 million by a jury. Allergan, which initially planned to appeal, ended up privately settling the case with the family, and the terms of the settlement have been kept confidential.
In the before and after picture of my mom's Botox treatment, my mom paid $350 and was charged per area. She chooses reputable physicians that may be slightly more expensive than average, but have good patient reviews and are well-trained and skilled. To her, it is more worth it to have a doctor who knows how to cater the right technique to her skin issues than to have a doctor who injects her with a certain quantity of Botox but with poor or ineffective technique. This doesn't mean that the more expensive a doctor is, the better he or she will be. It just means that similar to how you would hesitate if the treatment is really expensive, you should also hesitate if the Botox treatment is really inexpensive. Good Botox requires a skilled hand and this is especially important since Botox is a treatment that can definitely be botched.
Still, there have been enough concerns that the FDA instituted a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) requirement for all botulinum toxin preparations that specifically addresses the issues of distant spread of the toxin and the risk of problems, leading to death, from swallowing or breathing issues in certain patients who may be susceptible after botulinum toxin treatment. All products, including Dysport, Myobloc, Xeomin, and Botox, are monitored via this strategy. This is specifically aimed at a certain population of patients receiving more than the usual doses of botulinum toxin and not aimed at the casual user of Botox, per se.
But for some conditions, step therapy can be downright harmful. In a 2016 op-ed in The Boston Globe, a patient with ulcerative colitis wrote that his health insurance forced him to try a cheaper treatment for six months, instead of the pricier meds his doctor wanted to prescribe. In those six months, his colon deteriorated so badly it had to be removed.
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The number of headache days determines whether the patient has episodic migraine (EM) (14 or fewer headache days a month) or CM (more than 15 days of headache a month). The best method of determining the actual number of headache days is to subtract this from the number of completely headache-free days in a month. If headache is present on more than half the days in the month, and there are migraine features on at least 8 days a month, the condition is termed CM. The migraine features only have to be present on 8 days out of the month and not on every headache day. The other headache days in this condition are considered to be milder forms of migraine, and they do not have all the typical migraine features. If headache is present on fewer than 15 days a month, this is referred to as EM. EM can transform to CM over time. If analgesics are used on 10 or more days per month, this can lead to a transformation to CM. The patient’s headache pattern over a 12-month period should be determined, and during this time, there should be at least 3 months with 15 headache days; 8 of these days should meet migraine criteria.1-3
Children do very well after having this procedure in our clinic and are not upset when they leave. We rarely use sedation. We use distraction and a quick injection method instead. In rare cases, localization of a muscle may be needed using an electromyograph (EMG) machine or electric stimulator. If this is needed we will discuss this before scheduling the injections.
Migraine with visual aura involves visual effects that usually precede the headache and last at least 5 minutes. The visual aura is usually an expanding blinding spot or visual scintillations (shimmering objects in the visual field). Other aura features include reversible symptoms of speech and language difficulty such as word-finding problems and aphasia (inability to express words or comprehend words), sensory phenomena such as tingling in the extremities extending to the face, motor effects such as weakness, and brainstem problems such as unsteadiness and features of cranial nerve dysfunction. These aura symptoms usually last 5 to 60 minutes, can precede or start during the headache, and can also occur without a headache.

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Tell your doctor if you have received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
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