Botox lasts only around three months (or more when you first start getting injections), so get ready to go in for maintenance every three to six months. Because it’s only meant to temporarily relax your muscles, it wears off over time, and you’ll notice your wrinkle start to appear again. “As skin ages, the skin loses elasticity and collagen breaks down, so constant muscle and skin contraction can create more permanent creases (wrinkles). Within a few months of injecting the botox, the body makes new acetylcholine receptors, and the nerves are able to conduct their impulses again,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. “You must use neurotoxins continuously in order to reduce muscle movement and prevent long-term skin creasing.” Find out more secrets from dermatologists about how to prevent and treat wrinkles.
The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® for hyperhidrosis in other body areas have not been established. Weakness of hand muscles and blepharoptosis may occur in patients who receive BOTOX® for palmar hyperhidrosis and facial hyperhidrosis, respectively. Patients should be evaluated for potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis (eg, hyperthyroidism) to avoid symptomatic treatment of hyperhidrosis without the diagnosis and/or treatment of the underlying disease.
In 2010, Allergan pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $600 million to resolve allegations that it unlawfully promoted Botox for conditions--including headaches, pain, spasticity and juvenile cerebral palsy--that at the time were not approved by the FDA. In one of the complaints, prosecutors said that Allergan "illegally, vigorously and without any thought to the possible negative health effects to which it subjected patients, promoted off-label uses of Botox." The U.S. Department of Justice also argued that Allergan exploited on-label uses for cervical dystonia--a disorder characterized by extreme neck-muscle contractions--to "grow off-label pain and headache sales." Prosecutors also argued that Allergan paid doctors to give presentations and trainings to other physicians about Botox uses that at the time were off-label.
Still, Botox's use for depression raises a question that confounds some researchers. In some cases, how Botox works is evident: the toxin can block the signals between nerves and muscles, which is why it can help calm an overactive bladder, say, or a twitching eye, or the facial muscles that make wrinkles more apparent. In other cases, however (with migraines as well as with depression), scientists are flummoxed. They may have noticed that the drug works for a given condition, but they aren't always sure why--in sciencespeak, they don't know what the mechanism is.
In the case of Botox, doctors who experiment off-label say they do so because they're looking for better treatment options for their patients. "In my 30 years of medical practice, Botox is one of the most impactful treatments I had ever seen," says Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, who independently studied Botox for overactive bladder before the FDA approved it for that condition in 2013.
The 5-unit dose that is injected at each site is a very low dose. Earlier studies with total dosing below 155 units failed to show separation from placebo. As a result, I encourage all patients to get a minimum of 155 units, even if they have a small frame. The optional component of the injection paradigm is the 40 units that are used for following the pain sites. The pain sites are the temporalis, occipitalis, and trapezius. These can be held if the injector is concerned. I do not reduce the dose below 155 units as lower doses have not separated from placebo, and thus I may not achieve an adequate headache effect with a lower dose. In fact, most of the time I increase the dose to at least 165 units, as this was the mean dose in the PREEMPT trials. I inject 5 units behind each ear for a bilateral headache and 5 units in two sites behind one ear in a side-locked headache.
But for some conditions, step therapy can be downright harmful. In a 2016 op-ed in The Boston Globe, a patient with ulcerative colitis wrote that his health insurance forced him to try a cheaper treatment for six months, instead of the pricier meds his doctor wanted to prescribe. In those six months, his colon deteriorated so badly it had to be removed.
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].
When asked how often he turns people away, Dr. Matarasso says: “I turned someone away today. I had a gentleman come in, he was an appropriate candidate anatomically, he had some deep lines in his forehead, but his expectations were unrealistic. He wanted every line erased, and I said, ‘No, you are going to look a little mask-like.’ I gave him a brochure and said, 'Go home and think about it.'”
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.