Launched in 2002, Practical Neurology is a publication uniquely dedicated to presenting current approaches to patient management, synthesis of emerging research and data, and analysis of industry news with a goal to facilitate practical application and improved clinical practice for all neurologists. Our straightforward articles give neurologists tools they can immediately put into practice.
Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known to man. Scientists have estimated that a single gram could kill as many as 1 million people and a couple of kilograms could kill every human on earth. In high concentrations, botulinum toxin can result in botulism, a severe, life-threatening illness. Botulism, left untreated, may result in respiratory failure and death. Despite botulinum toxin being so toxic, Botox is in huge demand.
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:
Co-administration of BOTOX® or other agents interfering with neuromuscular transmission (eg, aminoglycosides, curare-like compounds) should only be performed with caution as the effect of the toxin may be potentiated. Use of anticholinergic drugs after administration of BOTOX® may potentiate systemic anticholinergic effects. The effect of administering different botulinum neurotoxin products at the same time or within several months of each other is unknown. Excessive neuromuscular weakness may be exacerbated by administration of another botulinum toxin prior to the resolution of the effects of a previously administered botulinum toxin. Excessive weakness may also be exaggerated by administration of a muscle relaxant before or after administration of BOTOX®.
Simply put, "Baby Botox" uses a lower volume of Botox (a.k.a. botulinum toxin injections) than a traditional injection to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. "Instead of using 25 units in an area, you may use 10 units," Melissa Doft, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. "I have many patients who ask for half the normal dose, as they do not want to look frozen but are tired of wrinkles in photos. First-time Botox patients are perfect for this."
Botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum is the cause of botulism.[9] Humans most commonly ingest the toxin from eating improperly-canned foods in which C. botulinum has grown. However, the toxin can also be introduced through an infected wound. In infants, the bacteria can sometimes grow in the intestines and produce botulinum toxin within the intestine and can cause a condition known as floppy baby syndrome.[32] In all cases, the toxin can then spread, blocking nerves and muscle function. In severe cases, the toxin can block nerves controlling the respiratory system or heart, resulting in death.[1] Botulism can be difficult to diagnose, as it may appear similar to diseases such as Guillain–Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and stroke. Other tests, such as brain scan and spinal fluid examination, may help to rule out other causes. If the symptoms of botulism are diagnosed early, various treatments can be administered. In an effort to remove contaminated food which remains in the gut, enemas or induced vomiting may be used.[33] For wound infections, infected material may be removed surgically.[33] Botulinum antitoxin is available and may be used to prevent the worsening of symptoms, though it will not reverse existing nerve damage. In severe cases, mechanical respiration may be used to support patients suffering from respiratory failure.[33] The nerve damage heals over time, generally over weeks to months.[4] With proper treatment, the case fatality rate for botulinum poisoning can be greatly reduced.[33]

The potency Units of BOTOX (onabotulinumtoxinA) for injection are specific to the preparation and assay method utilized. They are not interchangeable with other preparations of botulinum toxin products and, therefore, units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into units of any other botulinum toxin products assessed with any other specific assay method [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DESCRIPTION] .
Three percent of patients experienced eyelid drooping in the frown lines studies, one percent of patients experienced eyelid swelling in the crow's feet studies, and one percent of patients experienced brow drooping in the forehead lines studies. Other possible side effects include: dry mouth; discomfort or pain at the injection site; tiredness; headache; neck pain; eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight and dry eyes; and allergic reactions. These are not all of the possible serious side effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic. Please see the Important Safety Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide and talk to your specialist.

Botulism is an illness caused by a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulism: food-borne, wound, and infant. Symptoms include muscle paralysis, dry mouth, constipation, slurred speech, and blurred vision. If food-borne and wound botulism are detected early enough, they may be treated with an antitoxin. Infant botulism is treated intravenously with BabyBIG (Botulism Immune Globulin).


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Study 4 included 170 patients (87 BOTOX and 83 placebo) with upper limb spasticity who were at least 6 months post-stroke. In Study 4, patients received 20 Units of BOTOX into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus (total BOTOX dose =40 Units in thumb muscles) or placebo (see Table 30). Study 5 included 109 patients with upper limb spasticity who were at least 6 months post-stroke. In Study 5, patients received 15 Units (low dose) or 20 Units (high dose) of BOTOX into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus under EMG guidance (total BOTOX low dose =30 Units, total BOTOX high dose =40 Units), or placebo (see Table 30). The duration of follow-up in Study 4 and Study 5 was 12 weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, the bacteria that causes botulism, clostridium botulinum, is not part of the treatment, nor are six of the seven neurotoxins it secretes. The only substance used in Botox injections, botulinum toxin A, is carefully extracted, purified, and standardized into FDA-approved doses. Plus, the dosage is so small, it can't get beyond the muscle tissue it's injected into, meaning there's little if any chance for Botox to reach the bloodstream.
Now Allergan hopes to replicate the findings on a larger scale, and the company is currently running its own Phase 2 clinical trial. If its results are in line with Rosenthal and Finzi's, it would be huge, paving the way for Botox to obtain official approval for the drug as a depression treatment. That wouldn't change anything for doctors, of course--they can already prescribe it off-label, and some do, with great results--but it would allow Allergan to begin marketing Botox for depression, a change that could dramatically increase its adoption and sales.
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.

One of the most beneficial uses of BOTOX\for migraines is that it can serve as an indicator of how effective migraine surgery might be for you. BOTOX stops contracting muscles from irritating triggering nerves. If that gives you relief, you may benefit from surgery to “free up” pressure on those nerves. Using BOTOX may also help identify which nerves could be triggering your migraines, making surgical intervention more targeted.
The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted. Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.
“A younger face has a heart shape, and an older face is a little more bottom-heavy and square,” says Dr. Matarasso. “But if you put toxin in both sides, you are not reducing the movement of the muscle, you are thinning the muscle out a bit. You can restore a youthful look. It’s not as dramatic or quick-acting as other areas, but it can be a nice way to improve the contour of the face.”
The only difference between the two procedures is that with Botox for migraines, they may do a few more shots in areas where the pain is experienced. Personally, I usually get between 30 and 40 shots, concentrated mostly on the right side of my head where the pain occurs, at the base of my skull, and on my neck and shoulders, where I tend to hold tension, as doing so can cause a migraine. Botox for migraines can have the same aesthetic effect that cosmetic Botox has, which kills two birds with one stone for people who may desire that effect. "We do it along wrinkle lines and keep it symmetrical," says Ravitz, which explains the erasing of lines and temporary plumping of wrinkles.
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
As with the injection of any medication, your body's immune system can develop antibodies to the medication, which render the drug less effective or possibly cause development of an allergy to the drug. The more frequently the drug is injected or the more quantity that is injected, the higher the risk for these antibodies to be formed against the drug.
The bacterium can also be found in the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish and in the gills and organs of crabs and other shellfish. Such naturally occurring instances of Clostridium botulinum bacteria and spores are generally harmless. Problems only arise when the spores transform into vegetative cells and the cell population increases. At a certain point, the bacteria begin producing botulinum toxin, the deadly neurotoxin responsible for botulism.
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