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.”
Who is injecting your Botox? Injecting Botox is deceptively easy. After all, it looks like the nurse or physician just takes a little fluid and squirts into facial muscles, and Walla ! Perfection! The answer is No! You should choose a specialist with years of experience and the ability to assess your facial features to create the best treatment plan possible. Because when Botox is injected in the wrong place it can produce unwanted side-effects that you might find disturbing. For instance if the injector “chases” a wrinkle across your forehead and it happens to be too close to your central eyebrow then the Botox or Dysport can drift downward inhibiting a muscle that lifts your eyelid resulting in a drooped upper eyelid. I know you don’t want that! Or if the practitioner injects only your “11” frown lines between your brows and does not inject other areas of your brow to balance out the effect then you may get a “boomerang”brow – a “Spock”-like overarched brow that looks hideous. So like everything else experience counts but more experience usually translates into a more expensive treatment sessions. However, avoiding complications can save you money and aggravation in the long run.
After Hoffman’s husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 55, his health insurance decided to stop paying for the drug he had taken successfully unless he tried cheaper alternatives. She appealed on behalf of her husband and was eventually able to get approval for the drug, which would have cost them $8,000 a year otherwise. “I felt terrible and I had to fight and it took a long time,” Hoffman tells The Verge. “It caused a lot of anxiety and a lot of these patients don’t have a law professor wife to fight for them.”
“I don’t think it is physically addictive,” says Dr. Matarasso. “But, I have to be very frank with you, when I get a new patient I tell them (and I say this tongue-in-cheek) this product is truly addictive. I make jokes with my patients that we need a 12-step program for it, because when it’s done correctly, it’s a very simple office procedure, with impressive cosmetic results.”
Why Botox works isn’t completely clear. There’s some evidence that it may reduce the production of neurotransmitters related to pain in the areas where it’s injected. There’s also some evidence that it may have a broader effect on the brain’s pain centers, reducing the sensitivity that causes migraine sufferers to react to migraine triggers. While the exact mechanisms are poorly understood, the studies, as well as many of my patients’ experiences, do show a real benefit for many people.
In 2005, the national average cost of a BOTOX® injection was just over $375. However, the cost of BOTOX® treatment varies from area to area. In 2005, the northeastern United States had the highest BOTOX® average cost, at just over $500, while the western states had the lowest average, at under $370. It is important to keep in mind that these statistics may be somewhat misleading, as the cost of BOTOX® injections in Los Angeles will almost certainly be higher than BOTOX® treatment price in say, a rural area of Pennsylvania.
The median duration of response in study NDO-1 and NDO-2, based on patient qualification for re-treatment was 295-337 days (4248 weeks) for the 200 Units dose group compared to 96-127 days (13-18 weeks) for placebo. Re-treatment was based on loss of effect on incontinence episode frequency (50% of effect in Study NDO-1; 70% of effect in Study NDO-2).