Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
On average, each BOTOX treatment requires 32 injections, though individual patients may require fewer or more. You’ll receive injections every twelve weeks, and each session only takes a few minutes. BOTOX begins to work as soon as it’s injected, and you should see full results within a week of your first injections. Most patients who benefit from BOTOX treatments receive five rounds of injections over 15 months. BOTOX is injected using a very fine needle. Most patients describe it as feeling like a tiny pinprick.
In cosmetic applications, botulinum toxin is considered safe and effective for reduction of facial wrinkles, especially in the uppermost third of the face. Injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles under facial wrinkles causes relaxation of those muscles, resulting in the smoothing of the overlying skin. Smoothing of wrinkles is usually visible three days after treatment and is maximally visible two weeks following injection. The treated muscles gradually regain function, and generally return to their former appearance three to four months after treatment. Muscles can be treated repeatedly to maintain the smoothed appearance.
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.
"There is a difference in pricing based on the duration of the results," says L.A.-based injection specialist Lisa Goodman. (FYI: She's incredible, and I emphatically recommend seeing her if you're in L.A. or Dara Liotta, MD, if you're in NYC.) "The longer-lasting formulas cost more upfront. Shorter-term fillers can last from six to 11 months based on the patient's rate of aging (i.e., smoking, drinking, sun exposure, genetics), while the longer-term fillers last about one to two years."
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:
In 1895 (seventy-five years later), Émile van Ermengem, professor of bacteriology and a student of Robert Koch, correctly described Clostridium botulinum as the bacterial source of the toxin. Thirty-four attendees at a funeral were poisoned by eating partially salted ham, an extract of which was found to cause botulism-like paralysis in laboratory animals. Van Ermengem isolated and grew the bacterium, and described its toxin, which was later purified by P Tessmer Snipe and Hermann Sommer.
But even if the laws remain unchanged, as long as off-label uses are permitted by law, expect doctors to keep pushing the boundaries of Botox's applications--sometimes in the name of medical progress and sometimes with remarkable results.Norman Rosenthal, the Maryland psychiatrist who recommended Botox for his suicidal patient, says he's seen the upside firsthand. The patient, persuaded by Rosenthal, did indeed get Botox shots on his forehead and between his brows. Days later, Rosenthal got an email from the patient. It was a thank-you note. Finally, the patient wrote, he was feeling better.
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.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, a total of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected into each corrugator muscle. To confirm the location of the muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow in order to activate the corrugator. Once the muscle has been located, the muscle should be palpated and pinched by holding it between the thumb and index finger. Five units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected at an approximate 90° angle with the bevel of the needle pointing upward into the medial belly of the muscle. As the needle is inserted, there is skin resistance, which lessens when the muscle is penetrated. This decrease in resistance is termed a muscle pop. Once the muscle pop occurs, inject into the superficial muscle. If the injection is too far superior or above the corrugator muscle, brow ptosis can occur due to depression of the medial brow as the frontalis elevating function is lost and the corrugator depressing function remains unopposed. Whereas weakening the corrugator muscle will cause elevation of the medial eyebrow, alternatively, if the corrugator injection is done too low, then diffusion to the levator palpebral muscle could lead to lid ptosis.
Children do very well after having this procedure in our clinic and are not upset when they leave. We rarely use sedation. We use distraction and a quick injection method instead. In rare cases, localization of a muscle may be needed using an electromyograph (EMG) machine or electric stimulator. If this is needed we will discuss this before scheduling the injections.
In both studies, significant improvements compared to placebo in the primary efficacy variable of change from baseline in daily frequency of urinary incontinence episodes were observed for BOTOX 100 Units at the primary time point of week 1 2. Significant improvements compared to placebo were also observed for the secondary efficacy variables of daily frequency of micturition episodes and volume voided per micturition. These primary and secondary variables are shown in Tables 19 and 20, and Figures 5 and 6.
Since then, several randomized control trials have shown botulinum toxin type A to improve headache symptoms and quality of life when used prophylactically for patients with chronic migraine who exhibit headache characteristics consistent with: pressure perceived from outside source, shorter total duration of chronic migraines (<30 years), "detoxification" of patients with coexisting chronic daily headache due to medication overuse, and no current history of other preventive headache medications.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and are being treated for urinary incontinence (symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include pain or burning with urination, frequent urination, or fever); have problems emptying your bladder on your own and are being treated for urinary incontinence; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).