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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.”
Botox is so commonplace these days that you can get it done at some gyms and spas, but in these cases, you never know what you’re getting, how old the product is, with what it's mixed, and whether the injector knows what he or she is doing. Dr. Matarasso suggests only getting it done by what he calls the “core four”: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
Laser tattoo removal has minimal side effects. Lasers break up the pigment of the tattoo with a high-intensity light beam. During the procedure, the patient wears protective eye shields and may be giving anesthesia. The pulse of the laser feels like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Possible side effects include a risk of infection, hypopigmentation, and hyperpigmentation.
"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."
Botox essentially paralyzes the muscles and stops them from contracting. Results are visible within one week after treatment and remain for a minimum of three months. Some surgeons suggest that Zytaze, a new prescription zinc supplement, can extend these results if taken in the days leading up to your Botox injections. Ask your doctor about Zytaze before your next Botox injection.
Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
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.”
Even if Botox's mechanism isn't always well understood and some of its off-label uses are still unproven, interest in the drug isn't likely to wane. "Botox is a big cash cow for the physicians' practices," says Ronny Gal, an investment analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein who has watched the drug closely for more than a decade. "When I talk to physicians, they say, 'Botox is not a problem. It works and gives you the result you want.' If it works for depression and atrial fibrillation, it could be massive."
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.
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.
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.
Reduced blinking from BOTOX injection of the orbicularis muscle can lead to corneal exposure, persistent epithelial defect, and corneal ulceration, especially in patients with VII nerve disorders. Vigorous treatment of any epithelial defect should be employed. This may require protective drops, ointment, therapeutic soft contact lenses, or closure of the eye by patching or other me ans.
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Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These may include asthenia, generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence and breathing difficulties. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening and there have been reports of death. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults treated for spasticity and other conditions, particularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms. In unapproved uses, including spasticity in children, and in approved indications, cases of spread of effect have been reported at doses comparable to those used to treat cervical dystonia and spasticity and at lower doses.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.
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.
Food-borne botulism results, indirectly, from ingestion of food contaminated with Clostridium spores, where exposure to an anaerobic environment allows the spores to germinate, after which the bacteria can multiply and produce toxin. Critically, it is ingestion of toxin rather than spores or vegetative bacteria that causes botulism. Botulism is nevertheless known to be transmitted through canned foods not cooked correctly before canning or after can opening, and so is preventable. Infant botulism cases arise chiefly as a result of environmental exposure and are therefore more difficult to prevent. Infant botulism arising from consumption of honey can be prevented by eliminating honey from diets of children less than 12 months old.
Botox® neurotoxin treatment helps control the symptoms of severe underarm sweating when topical medicines do not work well enough by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, the severe sweating stops. Botox® injections are expected to temporarily stop the production of excessive sweat in the treated areas only. Sweat continues to be produced elsewhere.
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.
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.
Table 14 presents the most frequently reported adverse reactions in a placebo-controlled, double-blind post-approval 52 week study with BOTOX 100 Units (Study NDO-3) conducted in MS patients with urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition. These patients were not adequately managed with at least one anticholinergic agent and not catheterized at baseline. The table below presents the most frequently reported adverse reactions within 12 weeks of injection.
The biological blocking powers of Botox are used to treat migraines, muscular disorders, and some and bowel disorders. It can treat muscle stiffness, muscle spasms, overactive bladder, or loss of bladder control, too. It's also used to stop excessive sweating. "Botox blocks glands the same way it blocks nerves in muscles," Sobel tells SELF. However, don't expect to stop sweating entirely, he says. "You've got to sweat somewhere." What's more, Botox will last far longer in these sweaty situations since the glands are far smaller than the muscles treated, says Rowe.
Dosing in initial and sequential treatment sessions should be tailored to the individual patient based on the patientâ€™s head and neck position, localization of pain, muscle hypertrophy, patient response, and adverse event history. The initial dose for a patie nt without prior use of BOTOX should be at a lower dose, with subsequent dosing adjusted based on individual response. Limiting the total dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle to 100 Units or less may decrease the occurrence of dysphagia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
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 associated with the unapproved uses of BOTOX®. The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® for unapproved uses have not been established.
Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about three to twelve months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.