It’s not just about Botox, though. Last month, the FDA approved the first migraine-specific drug to prevent the severe headaches. Called Aimovig, the injectable med will cost $6,900 a year, according to The New York Times, plus injection fees. Because of the high costs, experts expect the new drug to be subject to step therapy policies. Stephen Silberstein, the director of the headache center at Jefferson University, told me in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance companies required patients to even try and fail Botox before covering the new meds (there are a few of them under development).
The cost of a Botox treatment is usually communicated as a flat cost, but can also be measured in individual injectable units. Each unit usually costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $15, but prices vary between geographic areas and between individual clinics. How many units are needed per treatment will depend on which areas of your face are being treated, and on your individual facial anatomy.
Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups. Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of spasticity in pediatric patients under age 18 years. BOTOX has not been shown to improve upper extremity functional abilities, or range of motion at a joint affected by a fixed contracture. Treatment with BOTOX is not intended to substitute for usual standard of care rehabilitation regimens.
Many people who experience excessive sweating, whether on their hands, hairline, or even under their breasts or butt, are turning to Botox and other neuromodulators (like Xeomin or Dysport). "They help prevent excessive sweating by acting on the sweat glands directly," says NYC board-certified plastic surgeon Z. Paul Lorenc, MD. "The neuromodulator is injected into the sweat glands to relax the muscle and help combat excessive sweating."
Botox is a brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are other brand names for botulinum, such as Xeomin. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoning. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.
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The drug has come a long way since its ability to smooth facial wrinkles was first discovered, by accident. In the 1970s, ophthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott started studying the toxin as a therapy for people with a medical condition that rendered them cross-eyed. "Some of these patients that would come would kind of joke and say, 'Oh, Doctor, I've come to get the lines out.' And I would laugh, but I really wasn't tuned in to the practical, and valuable, aspect of that," Scott told CBS in 2012. Scott named the drug Oculinum and formed a company of the same name in 1978. In 1989 he received FDA approval for the treatment of strabismus (the crossed-eye disorder) and abnormal eyelid spasms.
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.”
Selecting the correct injection points is critical to the success of the procedure. These points are first scored with a marking pencil. Your doctor will likely select numerous injection points for each location to be treated. (These points are located where the muscle contracts — not necessarily at the wrinkle you are hoping to erase.) The Botox filler is then injected into the marked points beneath the skin.
Now, thanks in large part to off-label use, Botox--the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph--is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal's patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug's unique characteristics as much as the drug industry's unique strategies for creating a blockbuster.
A migraine requires only two of the following headache features: a unilateral distribution (one-sided), pulsatile quality (throbbing), moderate or severe pain (more than 5 out of 10), and aggravation by physical activity (such as bending over). In addition, to diagnose migraine, only one of the following is required: nausea or vomiting or sensitivity to light and noise.
In addition to glabellar lines, Botox is used to eradicate crow’s feet, frown lines, and lines and furrows in the forehead. Whereas treating crow's feet and forehead lines with Botox was for many years an off-label use, the toxin has since received FDA approval for both uses. Botox is also approved to treat a variety of medical conditions, including ocular muscle spasms, problems with eye coordination, severe armpit perspiration, migraine headaches, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence related to nerve damage from conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spine injury. Botox is being studied to determine if it might be useful in treating conditions such as knee and hip osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
BOTOX® Cosmetic targets one of the underlying causes of frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead lines — the repeated muscle contractions from frowning, squinting, smiling and raising the eyebrows over the years. Your specialist will inject these muscles with BOTOX® Cosmetic to temporarily reduce muscle activity. You will begin to notice a visible smoothing of the frown lines between your brows, your crow’s feet lines and your forehead lines.
Side effects from cosmetic use generally result from unintended paralysis of facial muscles. These include partial facial paralysis, muscle weakness, and trouble swallowing. Side effects are not limited to direct paralysis however, and can also include headaches, flu-like symptoms, and allergic reactions. Just as cosmetic treatments only last a number of months, paralysis side-effects can have the same durations. At least in some cases, these effects are reported to dissipate in the weeks after treatment. Bruising at the site of injection is not a side effect of the toxin but rather of the mode of administration, and is reported as preventable if the clinician applies pressure to the injection site; when it occurs, it is reported in specific cases to last 7–11 days. When injecting the masseter muscle of the jaw, loss of muscle function can result in a loss or reduction of power to chew solid foods.
Botox was introduced to the world in the late 1980s by ophthalmologists, who began using it to treat optic muscle disorders. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in 2002, and its popularity has soared ever since. Botox is consistently one of the top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed each year.
BTX-A is now a common treatment for muscles affected by the upper motor neuron syndrome (UMNS), such as cerebral palsy, for muscles with an impaired ability to effectively lengthen. Muscles affected by UMNS frequently are limited by weakness, loss of reciprocal inhibition, decreased movement control and hypertonicity (including spasticity). In January 2014, Botulinum toxin was approved by UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the treatment of ankle disability due to lower limb spasticity associated with stroke in adults. Joint motion may be restricted by severe muscle imbalance related to the syndrome, when some muscles are markedly hypertonic, and lack effective active lengthening. Injecting an overactive muscle to decrease its level of contraction can allow improved reciprocal motion, so improved ability to move and exercise.
Dr. Engelman says preventative is legit. “Most certainly! I do micro-injections on patients who are just starting to show the finest expression lines in order to prevent them from ever making the wrinkle." NYC-based board-certified plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, MD, is also a fan. "While Botox has a fundamental use in treating wrinkles that are already formed, it has a role in the prophylactic, or prevention, of wrinkles. So, don't think that you don't need Botox because you don't have wrinkles. If you want to keep that smooth skin, start with Botox before they form."
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing.