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.
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 even if the laws remain unchanged, as long as off-label uses are permitted by law, expect doctors to keep pushing the boundaries of Botox's applications--sometimes in the name of medical progress and sometimes with remarkable results.Norman Rosenthal, the Maryland psychiatrist who recommended Botox for his suicidal patient, says he's seen the upside firsthand. The patient, persuaded by Rosenthal, did indeed get Botox shots on his forehead and between his brows. Days later, Rosenthal got an email from the patient. It was a thank-you note. Finally, the patient wrote, he was feeling better.
Migraine is not a synonym for just a really bad headache, Galli says, which is one of the biggest misconceptions of this disease. It’s a full-body experience that affects your daily life. Being able to break that stigma and, instead, making migraine a synonym of the “this huge debilitating monster of a disease” is one way to change that. Knowledge is a powerful tool for migraine management. The American Migraine Foundation maintains a comprehensive resource library full of fact sheets, toolkits and advice sourced directly from the nation’s leading migraine specialists. Visit AMF’s website to learn more and to find a headache doctor near you.

I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.
Allergan says Botox is well established as a drug and that the benefits and risks of toxins are well understood. "With more than 25 years of real-world clinical experience ... approximately 3,200 articles in scientific and medical journals, marketing authorizations in more than 90 markets and many different indications, Botox and Botox Cosmetic are [among] the most widely researched medicines in the world," an Allergan rep wrote in an emailed statement.
Galli has been living with migraine for most of her adult life, but recently, her attacks became more severe and frequent. “My whole life went upside down and nothing was the same,” Galli says, upon being diagnosed with chronic migraine. “The person I used to be wasn't there anymore. I didn't even recognize myself.” To cope with the symptoms that often accompany chronic migraine, Galli found herself retreating to a dark room, waiting for the pain to pass, but it never did. In response, Galli says, she asked herself what she could do to feel better but also share her story. “Everyone around me that knew how high energy, and how much of a go-getter I am, asked what was happening? Where was that person?” When she came across the announcement of the Migraine Moment Film Contest, she saw it as her opportunity to bring awareness about what it is like to live with migraine and bust the misconceptions surrounding this invisible disease. Enter: “Invisible Hero.”
It’s not just about Botox, though. Last month, the FDA approved the first migraine-specific drug to prevent the severe headaches. Called Aimovig, the injectable med will cost $6,900 a year, according to The New York Times, plus injection fees. Because of the high costs, experts expect the new drug to be subject to step therapy policies. Stephen Silberstein, the director of the headache center at Jefferson University, told me in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance companies required patients to even try and fail Botox before covering the new meds (there are a few of them under development).

It’s not just about Botox, though. Last month, the FDA approved the first migraine-specific drug to prevent the severe headaches. Called Aimovig, the injectable med will cost $6,900 a year, according to The New York Times, plus injection fees. Because of the high costs, experts expect the new drug to be subject to step therapy policies. Stephen Silberstein, the director of the headache center at Jefferson University, told me in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance companies required patients to even try and fail Botox before covering the new meds (there are a few of them under development).

There were 214 subjects evaluated for the open label period, of which 170 progressed into the randomized, blinded treatment p eriod (88 in the BOTOX group, 82 in the placebo group). Patient evaluations continued for at least 10 weeks post-injection. The primary outcome for the study was a dual endpoint, requiring evidence of both a change in the Cervical Dystonia Severity Scale (CDSS) and an increase in the percentage of patients showing any improvement on the Physician Global Assessment Scale at 6 weeks after the injection session. The CDSS quantifies the severity of abnormal head positioning and was newly devised for this study. CDSS a llots 1 point for each 5 degrees (or part thereof) of head deviation in each of the three planes of head movement (range of scores up to theoretical maximum of 54). The Physician Global Assessment Scale is a 9 category scale scoring the physician's evaluation of the patients' status compared to baseline, ranging from 4 to +4 (very marked worsening to complete improvement), with 0 indicating no change from baseline and +1 slight improvement. Pain is also an important symptom of cervical dystonia and was evaluated by separate assessments of pain frequency and severity on scales of 0 (no pain) to 4 (constant in frequency or extremely severe in intensity). Study results on the primary endpoints and the pain-related secondary endpoints are shown in Table 35.
The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® for hyperhidrosis in other body areas have not been established. Weakness of hand muscles and blepharoptosis may occur in patients who receive BOTOX® for palmar hyperhidrosis and facial hyperhidrosis, respectively. Patients should be evaluated for potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis (eg, hyperthyroidism) to avoid symptomatic treatment of hyperhidrosis without the diagnosis and/or treatment of the underlying disease.

That’s enough to generate buzz on the patient forums like RealSelf among those who have tried it: “My neck is killing me” wrote one user;  I’ve got “Stiffness, pain in the neck, headache and can’t look down” reported another. Like anything, results vary widely. “I have since felt nauseous and dizzy on and off every day, as well as have blurry vision.


Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).
The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.
“Botox is a completely cosmetic procedure, so if and when someone ‘needs’ it is a purely personal decision,” Shah says. “Some people are not bothered by developing fine lines and wrinkles. For those who are, I generally advise starting treatments just when they start to see the lines develop, or when the wrinkles linger even after the movement has stopped.”
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.

Properly trained, board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons separate the "forehead" area into the upper/main forehead, and the glabella, the area between the eyebrows that has the frown lines. Depending on your exact anatomy and types of lines and facial movement, you may need only 3 to 5 units total in the upper forehead area, or up to 40 units for the combined glabella... READ MORE


Botox is an injectable drug made from a toxic bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When you eat the toxin produced by this bacterium, it causes a life-threatening form of food poisoning, known as botulism. But when you inject it into your body, it causes different symptoms. It blocks certain chemical signals from your nerves, causing temporary paralysis of your muscles.

Baby Botox can also be used as an upkeep strategy. "I really think of it as small maintenance doses of Botox over time instead of standard doses given at three- to six-month intervals," says Smith. "The other term that describes this well is 'tweakment' — subtle changes done over a longer period of time using lower doses of product at each treatment."

Botox treatments can help reduce symptoms of migraine headaches, including nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells. After you receive Botox injections, it may take as long as 10 to 14 days for you to experience relief. In some cases, you may not experience any relief from your symptoms following your first set of injections. Additional treatments may prove more effective.

It's a remarkable arc for a drug that only a few years ago was associated with Hollywood cocktail parties where guests came for Bellinis and left with a forehead full of Botox injections. It highlights the advances that can occur when physicians, seeking new therapies for their patients, explore creative new uses for approved drugs--basically, real-world experiments that take place largely beyond the reach of federal regulators. That, in turn, raises questions about the risks of deploying medicines in ways that have not been fully vetted. But it happens all the time.
There have been spontaneous reports of death, sometimes associated with dysphagia, pneumonia, and/or other significant debility or anaphylaxis, after treatment with botulinum toxin. There have also been reports of adverse events involving the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, some with fatal outcomes. Some of these patients had risk factors including cardiovascular disease. The exact relationship of these events to the botulinum toxin injection has not been established.
With abnormal joint movement and inactivity, muscles can shorten and contract. In the case of muscle spasticity, the joint and soft tissue can be normal, but with constant contraction of a muscle because of spasticity the muscle can shorten. When it can no longer stretch to allow full range of motion, a contracture can happen. Agents that lessen the spasticity of the involved muscles best prevent this type of contracture.
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In the first study, researchers examined a sample of healthy subjects and patients with a diagnosis of migraine -any frequency-, and analysed the presence of trigger points and their location, many of the explorations resulting in a migraine crisis. The most interesting findings of this study were: 95% of migraine sufferers have trigger points, while only 25% of healty subjects have them. The most common locations of trigger points are the anterior temporal and the suboccipital region, both billateral, of the head. Furthermore, researchers found a positive correlation among the number of trigger points in a patient, the number of monthly crises and the duration in years of the condition.
The overall cost of  the injection is charged either at a flat rate or per unit. In terms of per unit, the overall cost of the treatment will depend on the total volume or a total number of units used in the procedure. But service charged at a flat rate depends on the area to be treated. The most expensive area is around the underarm for treating hyperhidrosis.
The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 30 injections of 1 mL (~6.7 Units) each (total volume of 30 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal s aline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, the saline used for bladder wall visualization should be drained. The patient should be observed for at least 30 minutes post -injection.

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With small children, I find that being prepared allows us to function better.  My family food preps for the week with fruits, veggies and snack-size portions. I keep the snacks on a shelf that my children can easily reach, so they can choose a healthy option if they’re hungry and I’m unable to get up. Meals are well-thought-out and prepared ahead of time, in case of a migraine attack. I always have a back-up plan for my children. I have alternative arrangements for them after school if I am unable to care for them or myself. I also have activities planned. I keep crafts around that occupy my children’s time but also keep sound and stress to a minimum. We color, build Legos and play with Play-Doh all while sitting in rooms with strategically placed lights and brightness. I save screen time for when I need a few moments of quiet. We keep a routine and schedule, but also stay flexible. A schedule allows my family to know what to expect for our days and evenings. My children are able to continue their day if I have a migraine attack because they know what needs to be done and in what order. We have strict bedtimes that allow my children’s brains to grow and mine to recover. Along with this, I have taught them that moms don’t always feel well, and we may need to adjust the schedule from time to time to accommodate my migraine. I keep medication that can fight a migraine attack with me for use on the go and safely at home. I see a neurologist on a regular basis who helps me manage my migraine symptoms and medication.

Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
Other side effects of BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of eyelids, dry eyes, and drooping eyebrows. In people being treated for urinary incontinence other side effects include: urinary tract infection, painful urination, and/or inability to empty your bladder on your own. If you have difficulty fully emptying your bladder after receiving BOTOX®, you may need to use disposable self-catheters to empty your bladder up to a few times each day until your bladder is able to start emptying again.
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