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.
Younger patients have been increasingly hopping on the Botox bandwagon as a preventative measure—even before the wrinkles appear or deepen. That’s why dermatologists can’t recommend the best age to start or try Botox, since it depends on your goals, your facial expressions, and your preference. If all you see when you look at a photo of yourself is that forehead wrinkle instead of your bright eyes or smile, it might make you happier to get the wrinkle taken care of. “Each time we raise our eyebrows, or scowl by bringing our eyebrows together, the wrinkles in these locations get deeper and more numerous. It happens slowly over a long period of time, so you don’t notice it on a daily basis,” Dr. Tutela says. “But if you look at the horizontal wrinkles in your forehead when you are not raising your eyebrows, you will see an increase in these wrinkles when you do raise your brows. If you then hold that raised brow position for 10 seconds, you will notice when you relax, your forehead wrinkles look deeper and more numerous. Botox prevents this from happening.” It’s almost never too early to start a good anti-aging regimen. Learn the most in-demand cosmetic treatments across the US.
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.”
Treatment with BOTOX® and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with pre-existing swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a consequence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing (see Boxed Warning).
Patients with smaller neck muscle mass and patients who require bilateral injections into the sternocleidomastoid muscle for the treatment of cervical dystonia have been reported to be at greater risk for dysphagia. Limiting the dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle may reduce the occurrence of dysphagia. Injections into the levator scapulae may be associated wit h an increased risk of upper respiratory infection and dysphagia.
The primary release procedure for BOTOX uses a cell-based potency assay to determine the potency relative to a reference standard. The assay is specific to Allergan's products BOTOX and BOTOX Cosmetic. One Unit of BOTOX corresponds to the calculated median intraperitoneal lethal dose (LD50) in mice. Due to specific details of this assay such as the vehicle, dilution scheme, and laboratory protocols, Units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into Units of any other botulinum toxin or any toxin assessed with any other specific assay method. The specific activity of BOTOX is approximately 20 Units/nanogram of neurotoxin protein complex.
But in a recent Fat Mascara podcast, NYC dermatologist Pat Wexler, MD, said this is a myth. And Dr. Matarasso falls somewhere in-between. “For aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, does a 19-year-old need this? No. Does a 26-year-old need this for aesthetic purposes? Highly doubtful. But, hey, listen, if you are like, ‘I am looking at my parents, I am looking at my genes, and I want to stay proactive,’ it is not unreasonable to introduce it in small amounts.”
The range of prices for a single unit of Botox range between $10 and $20 per unit. But the total cost of Botox treatment depends on exactly what you're trying to achieve. For example, the cost of treating horizontal forehead lines may range anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on the factors mentioned above. For other facial areas you may need fewer units.
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.
Hoffman’s husband’s experience is not unusual. Once a patient gets the more expensive prescription, health insurance providers can still try and push them back to cheaper drugs. Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Loder says that most health insurance companies stop paying for Botox if it’s not reducing a patient’s migraines by at least 50 percent. “It’s important to keep careful headache diaries and keep careful notes in order to be able to prove to the insurance company that the treatment is worth it,” Loder says. “You’re not home free once they approve it.”
In clinical trials, 30.6% of patients (33/108) who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to injection, required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 200 Units as compared to 6.7% of patients (7/104) treated with placebo. The median duration of post-injection catheterization for these patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units (n = 33) was 289 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 530 days) as compared to a median duration of 358 days (minimum 2 days to maximum 379 days) for patients receiving placebo (n = 7).