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.
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."
Both Aetna and HealthPartners tell The Verge in an email that they don’t require patients to try verapamil specifically. “Verapamil is just one of many options available to treat migraines. Some are FDA-approved, others are not,” says Becca Johnson, a spokesperson for HealthPartners. Patients are required to try other oral medications because they’re either cheaper or not as invasive as getting Botox injections. “The rationale is that these medications are generally effective and safe,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesperson for Aetna.
"In the majority of these cases, it's the doctors at the front line who start using Botox off-label, and then we see the treatment of things we never expected the toxin to work for," says Min Dong, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who studies botulinum toxins in the lab and has no financial ties to Allergan. "I meet with physicians who are using the toxin everywhere--for diseases you would never know about."
Most physicians pay roughly the same amount of money to purchase a vial of Botox. However, the cost of a Botox treatment is not the same among all providers. Botox is not an ordinary commodity such as wheat or sugar or flour. Botox is a medical procedure that requires nuance, experience and expertise. All Botox providers are not equal in education or skill and some are actually quite poor. Most Botox providers charge either by the amount of Botox used or by the region of the face treated. I feel that charging by the amount of Botox used is the most equitable.
When BOTOX (4, 8, or 16 Units/kg) was administered intramuscularly to pregnant mice or rats two times during the period of organogenesis (on gestation days 5 and 13), reductions in fetal body weight and decreased fetal skeletal ossification were ob served at the two highest doses. The no-effect dose for developmental toxicity in these studies (4 Units/kg) is approximately equal to the human dose of 400 Units, on a body weight basis (Units/kg).
It's also not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for depression, not that that stops doctors from prescribing it that way. Such off-label use of Botox, like that of any FDA-approved drug, is legal in the U.S. That's because once a drug has been approved by the FDA for a condition, licensed physicians are legally allowed to prescribe it for any medical issue they think it could benefit, regardless of whether it's been proved to work for that condition.
The ideal needle to use is a 30G or 31G, half-inch needle. Longer needles are problematic as they encourage deeper injections, which can increase the risk of muscle weakness, and most of the side effects such as neck pain stem from muscle weakness. Perseverative-free normal saline is the only diluent that should be used. There is a case study of a patient who died when onabotulinumtoxinA was mixed with a local anesthetic agent. The pivotal trial established an effective dose using 2 mL/100 units of onabotulinumtoxinA. A fact that is often overlooked is that the mean dose in the trial was 165 units. The patients all received 155 units with a fixed dose, fixed-site injection protocol, and an option of an additional 40 units to follow the pain. This resulted in a mean dose of 165 units, which is the standard that should be used to achieve the efficacy results reviewed above.
Lalvani previously worked in organizations dedicated to diabetes, breast cancer and kidney disease, but strongly identifies with our community because she is living with migraine. She recalls first getting what she thought were terribly debilitating headaches when she was 18. “I had no idea what a migraine was,” she said, “and I never saw anyone around me have a migraine, so I had no idea what I was dealing with, and no one else around me knew what I was dealing with.” Lalvani is excited to see the progress that’s been made recently in migraine care and the tremendous effort that AMF has put forth in helping advance research to produce therapies at a faster rate. As you know, the mission for AMF is to drive and support impactful research that translates into treatment advances as well as mobilize the community for patient support and advocacy.
Injections: They're a popular topic and yet still shrouded in mystery and a veritable amount of secrecy. Most of us venture to a consultation or decide against them without actually knowing much information—how much they cost, what to expect during an appointment, or what the results will be. Because we're not willing to openly and freely discuss it (or have been taught not to), more often than not these conversations occur through a series of unanswered questions. Like sexual education, relying on abstinence is never going to be enough. We want to feel confident, look good, and make our own choices, and as such, that often leads to investing in modern skincare techniques.
Sunburn alert: The AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and AHA/BHA Cream in the Lytera® 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System contain an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Patients should use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using these products (or this system) and for a week following.
Treatment with BOTOX and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with preexisting swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a conseq uence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing [see Spread Of Toxin Effect].
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.”
Just because not every cosmetic Botox procedure is FDA-approved doesn't mean it's not safe and effective, if done properly. Off-label procedures are still within the standard of care, and there are tons of them. “There are so many non-FDA-approved applications for Botox,” says dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “It can be used to decrease scalp-sweating (which helps prolong blowouts), correct a droopy nasal tip (called nasal-tip ptosis), fix brow asymmetry, minimize bunny lines from wrinkling your nose, decrease skin oiliness, minimize the appearance of pores...” The list goes on and on.
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.
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.