In November, the FDA held a two-day hearing asking for expert comment on the agency's rules concerning off-label drug use and marketing. Some said the practice paves the way for scientific progress and gives doctors and their patients much needed alternatives for hard-to-treat medical conditions. Others said that off-label drug use is primarily financially motivated and that it poses a serious threat to public health, particularly when drugs are used experimentally on children.
The company markets brand products in six therapeutic areas: aesthetics/dermatology/plastic surgery; neurosciences/CNS; eye care; women’s health and urology; GI and cystic fibrosis; and cardiovascular disease and infectious disease. The company's products include Botox (botulinum toxin), Namenda (memantine), Restasis (ciclosporin), Linzess (linaclotide), Bystolic (nebivolol), Juvederm (injectable filler), Latisse (bimatoprost), Lo Loestrin Fe, Estrace (estradiol), Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil), Dalvance (dalbavancin, Ozurdex (dexamethasone), Optive, Natrelle, Viibryd (vilazodone), Liletta (levonorgestrel), Saphris (asenapine), Enablex (darifenacin), Actonel (risedronic acid), Androderm (testosterone), and Gelnique (oxybutynin).[1]
"Botox is a toxin that is extracted from a certain bacteria. It's been used for a couple of hundred years in medicine. It was first used in neurological conditions rather than cosmetic ones. It was first approved to treat spasms of the face and eye muscles. Only later was it discovered coincidentally that it could world for cosmetic purposes, like wrinkles," he says.
So when I first propositioned my husband about the idea of me getting a bit of Botox for the furrowed brow I've earned from a decade of writing and editing behind a computer screen, he was adamantly against it. And frankly, I was a bit scared too. I mean, isn't Botox poison? As an idealistic 21 year old, it was easy to say that I'd never put that stuff in my body, that "poison." Now, I'm not so sure.
Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or neuromuscular junction disorders (eg, myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome) should be monitored when given botulinum toxin. Patients with neuromuscular disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant effects including generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphonia, dysarthria, severe dysphagia, and respiratory compromise from onabotulinumtoxinA (see Warnings and Precautions).

The trapezius muscle is a large, triangular, superficial muscle. It attaches proximally in the medial third of the superior nuchal line, external occipital protuberance, nuchal ligament, and spinous processes of the C7-T12 vertebrae. Distal attachment of the trapezius occurs at the lateral third of the clavicle and acromion and spine of the scapula. The action of the muscle includes neck extension and stabilization of the scapula and support for the arm. The muscle fibers proximal to the inflection point of the neck (ie, necklace line) run vertically and are involved with neck extension. According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA to each of three sites on either side of the trapezius, for a total of 30 units divided across six sites, is given. The first injection site can be identified by visually dividing the upper portion of the trapezius muscle in half, from the inflection point of the neck (ie the necklace line) to the acromion (acromio-clavicular joint); the midpoint of this location is where the injection should be administered. The second injection is located at the midpoint of the first injection site and the acromion. The third injection should be administered at the midpoint between the first injection site and the necklace line. Injections should occur in the supraclavicular portion of the muscle, lateral to the neckline, and medial to the deltoid and the acromio-clavicular joint. The injections into the trapezius should be administered horizontally and superficially to avoid injecting too deep.
During a recent therapy session, one of Dr. Norman Rosenthal's regulars said he was considering suicide. It wasn't the first time the patient had entertained the thought, and even though he was on antidepressants and always kept up with his appointments, Rosenthal, a licensed psychiatrist with a private practice in North Bethesda, Md., wanted to offer his patient something else.
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.
The cost of Botox injections varies widely, with most clinics in the United States charging between $9 and $20 per unit. The variation in cost can be influenced by a number of factors, including the location of the clinic or medspa, and the reputation and expertise of the injector. For example, board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in administering Botox and dermal fillers are likely to charge more because they generally guarantee better results. That is not to say, however, that injectors charging $10 per unit aren’t capable of delivering excellent results as well, but there is far less risk of any complications arising when you choose an injector who has been board-certified. It is always the smartest, safest way to proceed with any cosmetic enhancement.
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”

Injection description is very important. It is best to describe the injections as a pinch rather than a bee sting, and to explain that the injections are shallow, with only a half-inch needle. As a result of the superficial technique used with the injections, deep anticoagulation can be continued. The procedure is short, and talking to the patient during the procedure about something other than the injections can help alleviate the patient’s anxiety. It is important to describe onabotulinumtoxinA as a purified protein rather than a toxin or a poison. In addition, stating that it relaxes muscles rather than causing paralysis will be reassuring to the patient. In a very anxious patient, the areas to be injected can be iced first or a local anesthetic cream can be applied. Starting with the trapezius muscle can also help, as these injections are the least painful, and the patient cannot see the needle. Finally, it is important to make sure the injections are performed with a sharp needle, and blunt needles are discarded. Thirty-gauge needles only remain sharp for six to eight needle sticks each.


Botox has also been shown to prevent chronic migraines, but there, it's unclear exactly why Botox works. (For doctors, reaching a firm understanding of how Botox prevents migraines will be tricky, since they don't know for certain what causes the severe headaches in the first place.) "There were multiple clinical trials for migraines, and most of them failed," says Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of drug development at Allergan and chief scientific officer for Botox. "It took a long time to figure out where to inject and how much." Today people who receive Botox for migraine prevention get 31 injections in different spots on their head and neck. The effects of Botox can last about three to six months depending on the condition.

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.
If you have eyelid drooping after a Botox procedure, it is a good idea to let the cosmetic surgeon know because there is a medicine available to help this condition. Any other difficulties, such as difficulty breathing or rashes, should be reported to the surgeon immediately. Bruises are generally gone within one to two weeks, there are other medications available for the treatment of these, such as vitamin K topical treatments (Dr. Holmquist Healthcare CytoActive Post-Procedural Bruise Relief, Revision Skincare Vitamin K Serum, Clinicians Complex Bruise Cream, Glymed Plus Arnica+ Healing Cream).
Study responders were defined as patients who showed at least a 2-grade improvement from baseline value on the HDSS 4 weeks after both of the first two treatment sessions or had a sustained response after their first treatment session and did not receive re-treatment during the study. Spontaneous resting axillary sweat production was assessed by weighing a filter paper held in the axilla ov er a period of 5 minutes (gravimetric measurement). Sweat production responders were those patients who demonstrated a reduction in axillary sweating from baseline of at least 50% at week 4.
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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.
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.
Please note, there are no guaranteed results with BOTOX and results may vary from patients to patient. Though BOTOX is not effective for all types of headaches, about 90% of MRC’s patients report that their migraines are less frequent and not as severe after BOTOX treatment. In clinical trials, patients reported seven to nine fewer headaches per month. In a study by A. H. Elkind, P. O’Carroll, A. Blumenfeld, R. DeGryse, and R. Dimitrova, a standard course of treatment brought patients these results:
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.

There is no cure for migraine currently. Don’t expect to walk into a doctor’s office, get a pill and feel better immediately. Having a variety of treatments can help you live a healthier life. Taking walks with my kids seems nearly impossible some days, and others it clears my mind and boosts my adrenaline. I receive both massage and acupuncture treatments for migraine pain and the general aches and pains that come with caring for and taking care of children. Mental health, as well as physical health, should be addressed. Time for rest and recovery needs to be a priority, to keep from overdoing it.
As compared to standard-size injections, Baby Botox lowers the risk of your features appearing to be frozen. Take the forehead, for example: "The risk is that you weaken your frontalis muscle, which causes your eyebrows to drop," Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. "If you're getting micro doses of Botox, that's a lot less likely to happen."

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.
If the musculature of the oropharynx and esophagus are affected, aspiration may occur which may lead to development of aspira tion pneumonia. If the respiratory muscles become paralyzed or sufficiently weakened, intubation and assisted respiration may be necessary until recovery takes place. Supportive care could involve the need for a tracheostomy and/or prolonged mechanical ventilation, in addition to other general supportive care.

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.
Botulinum toxin has been investigated for use in patients with blepharospasm in several studies. In an open label, historical ly controlled study, 27 patients with essential blepharospasm were injected with 2 Units of BOTOX at each of six sites on each side. Twenty-five of the 27 patients treated with botulinum toxin reported improvement within 48 hours. One patient was controlled with a higher dosage at 13 weeks post initial injection and one patient reported mild improvement but remained functionally impaired.
In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
Remember that the skill of the injector is extremely important when considering Botox injections. Because Botox can have some very obvious and embarrassing side effects like drooping eyelids, blurry vision, and excessive bruising around the injection site, it's important to consult with an experienced injector. Unlike dermal fillers which can be melted away with a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase, there's not much you can do about a bad Botox experience other than wait it out.
Each vial of BOTOX contains either 50 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.25 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.45 mg of sodium chloride; 100 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.5 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.9 mg of sodium chloride; or 200 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 1 mg of Albumin Human, and 1.8 mg of sodium chloride in a sterile, vacuum-dried form without a preservative.
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.
University-based ophthalmologists in the USA and Canada further refined the use of botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent. By 1985, a scientific protocol of injection sites and dosage had been empirically determined for treatment of blepharospasm and strabismus.[76] Side effects in treatment of this condition were deemed to be rare, mild and treatable.[77] The beneficial effects of the injection lasted only 4–6 months. Thus, blepharospasm patients required re-injection two or three times a year.
In 1820, Justinus Kerner, a small-town German medical officer and romantic poet, gave the first complete description of clinical botulism based on extensive clinical observations of so-called “sausage poisoning”.[37] Following experiments on animals and on himself, he concluded that the toxin acts by interrupting signal transmission in the somatic and autonomic motor systems, without affecting sensory signals or mental functions. He observed that the toxin develops under anaerobic conditions, and can be lethal in minute doses.[38] His prescience in suggesting that the toxin might be used therapeutically earned him recognition as the pioneer of modern botulinum toxin therapy.[39]

Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, says that step therapy is driven by a single motivator: saving costs. Hoffman, who’s written about the legal and ethical implications of step therapy, says that sometimes step therapy can have sensible outcomes, like pushing patients to take generics instead of brand-name drugs. But these policies can also keep doctors from prescribing the more expensive drugs of choice, forcing patients to take medications that are less effective or have worse side effects.
After the injection moves from the dermis and into the desired muscle, the nerves there are blocked—rather, their synapses, are blocked—by the Botox. So even though your brain my fire and signal for your body to move a particular muscle, Botox effectively blocks that firing and keeps the muscle from moving. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften, and also helps prevent new ones from forming.

Sometimes, because of these policies, patients are put on meds that are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraines, like the antidepressant amitriptyline and the high blood pressure drug verapamil. “In my experience, [verapamil is] not very effective,” says Elizabeth Loder, chief of the headache division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the former president of the American Headache Society. For the insurance companies, that doesn’t seem to matter. “It’s frustrating to patients, especially when it seems like some of the treatments that they’re required to try have a lot of side effects and haven’t really been tested that carefully for migraines.”

Our advice: if you’re going to try it, don’t give up on Botox for Migraine after the first try, and reconsider whether you’re a good candidate after three tries. Both Drs. Jackson and Kornel noted that there was a large placebo effect seen in many of the studies. “It’s hard to know if most of the benefit was from the drug or from the placebo effect,” said Jackson, who added, “but, patients don’t care if it’s a placebo effect.”
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.
When women in their 20's first consider getting Botox, prevention is often the primary factor, since the early signs of aging—such as crow's feet, forehead wrinkles, and fine lines—are beginning to show. "Lines get deeper and deeper with age," explains Wexler. "If you start [getting Botox] early enough and it's done properly, you're not going to need [as much] in the future." For younger patients wary of the frozen look—remember, youthful faces move—Wexler likes to employ lower doses of Botox via ultra-targeted micro injections administered on specific areas of the face such as the forehead, brows, or around the eyes.
“ARMR is a longitudinal study. We’re collecting data over time, which will allow us to study changes in headache patterns, health care resource utilization, diagnostic and management strategies, development of co-morbidities and responses to therapies,” Dr. Schwedt says. The registry is comprised of multiple components: The first component is an online platform in which participants fill out a baseline and follow-up questionnaires and clinicians enter the participants’ headache diagnoses. There is also an ARMR headache diary mobile app in which participants share daily information about their migraine attacks, their level of function and their treatment, if any. The third component is a blood sample, which is processed and stored in the ARMR biobank and will be used for genetic analyses. Brain imaging data are collected in the ARMR Neuroimaging Repository, and electronic health record data are pulled and confidentially entered into a centralized ARMR database. “Oftentimes, research is done in silos,” Dr. Schwedt says. “So a group at one institution is doing their own work, collecting their own data, doing their own analysis. And a group at another institution is doing their own work. That isn’t the most efficient way to move forward in the field. We believe creating and sharing data from this large and comprehensive study is really going to improve the efficiency of research in the field.”
A BOTOX “treatment” consists of 31 injections to the head and neck areas, if adherence to the FDA approved protocol is followed. Except for injection into the procerus, which is in the midline, all others are paired sets of injections on the left and right sides. Muscles included are the frontalis and temporalis areas as well as the occipitalis, upper cervical paraspinals, and trapezii. The amount injected at each of the 31 injection sites is small—5 units of BOTOX in a volume of 0.1 mL normal saline or sterile water. A total of 155 units is are typically used.
In the mid-1990s, people who received BOTOX for other conditions reported improvement in their chronic migraine pain. A two-phase study was conducted, treating patients who averaged 20 headache days a month. They received BOTOX injections every twelve weeks for 56 weeks. At the end of that period, 70% of the patients had fewer than half the number of headaches they had before treatment. The FDA officially approved BOTOX to treat chronic migraine in October of 2010. Since then, more than 100,000 patients have been treated.
Galli’s winning film presents herself, and people with migraine, as superheroes, living with a secret identity: migraine. “Other than me laying down on my couch, and knowing what's going on inside my body, nobody sees what's happening,” she says. “It's all happening inside. It's like that same struggle that superheroes have.” The migraine symptoms are superpowers, albeit ones that you don’t want. When her migraine attacks first began, Galli recalls an increased sensitivity to sound, odors, light and “all these things that feel not normal.” Many people with migraine are fighting the disease on their own, because their peers can’t relate to what their feeling on a daily basis. “It's time that we create better awareness and we tell the world that no, we don't need to be alone,” she says. “We don't need to fight alone and hide in the dark.” The film, she hopes, will add to the conversation and bring this disease out of the shadows. For the more than 37 million Americans living with migraine, Galli says: “You’re all superheroes. I hear you, I feel you.”
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, a total of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected into each corrugator muscle. To confirm the location of the muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow in order to activate the corrugator. Once the muscle has been located, the muscle should be palpated and pinched by holding it between the thumb and index finger. Five units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected at an approximate 90° angle with the bevel of the needle pointing upward into the medial belly of the muscle. As the needle is inserted, there is skin resistance, which lessens when the muscle is penetrated. This decrease in resistance is termed a muscle pop. Once the muscle pop occurs, inject into the superficial muscle. If the injection is too far superior or above the corrugator muscle, brow ptosis can occur due to depression of the medial brow as the frontalis elevating function is lost and the corrugator depressing function remains unopposed. Whereas weakening the corrugator muscle will cause elevation of the medial eyebrow, alternatively, if the corrugator injection is done too low, then diffusion to the levator palpebral muscle could lead to lid ptosis.

I don’t know what’s harder, being a mom or living with migraine. Having both can be overwhelming. Over the years, as a stay-at-home mom of two and chronic migraine fighter, I have learned to adapt my life and my children’s lives to migraine. I alter my family’s schedule around my children’s naps, meals and moods, while also keeping in mind my migraine attacks, sensitivities, triggers and abilities.

Remember that the skill of the injector is extremely important when considering Botox injections. Because Botox can have some very obvious and embarrassing side effects like drooping eyelids, blurry vision, and excessive bruising around the injection site, it's important to consult with an experienced injector. Unlike dermal fillers which can be melted away with a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase, there's not much you can do about a bad Botox experience other than wait it out.
Micropigmentation, or permanent makeup, is a procedure in which iron oxide pigment is injected into the dermis. This procedure can improve the appearance of thin eyebrows and lips and may be beneficial for those with makeup allergies. Swelling is common after the procedure. The patient may be instructed to apply ice and/or ointment to the treated area.

It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to treat increased stiffness in upper limb muscles other than those in the elbow, wrist, fingers, and thumb, or in lower limb muscles other than those in the ankle and toes. BOTOX® has not been shown to help people perform task-specific functions with upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.
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