Marrying ophthalmology to dermatology, Jean and Alistair Carruthers observed that blepharospasm patients who received injections around the eyes and upper face also enjoyed diminished facial glabellar lines (“frown lines” between the eyebrows), thereby initiating the highly-popular cosmetic use of the toxin.[52] Brin, and a group at Columbia University under Monte Keen made similar reports.[53] In 2002, following clinical trials, the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic, botulinum A toxin to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe glabellar lines.[54] The FDA approved a fully in vitro assay for use in the stability and potency testing of Botox in response to increasing public concern that LD50 testing was required for each batch sold in the market.[55][56]
These injection sites have been carefully chosen to treat specific nerve endings that are sending pain signals. BOTOX for migraines has proven to be a highly-effective treatment for people who are living with the painful, debilitating symptoms of chronic migraines. BOTOX will be carefully and correctly injected into muscles just beneath the skin. The procedure is not particularly painful, with a sensation of pinpricks.
There are no data on the presence of BOTOX in human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed child, or the effects on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for BOTOX and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from BOTOX or from the underlying maternal conditions.
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).
Preventative Botox has been getting lots of buzz. “It can potentially have a preventive effect on dynamic wrinkles, which are caused by underlying muscle movement,” Shah explains. “That being said, muscle movement is only one factor that contributes to the development of wrinkles, so Botox may not be completely preventive.” (Some other wrinkle causes: sun exposure, smoking, and diet.)

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

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I was lucky. My health insurance only required me to try and fail two other less expensive migraine medications, and it didn’t dictate how long I had to try them for before giving up. Other insurers have stricter rules: Aetna, for example, requires patients to try at least three medications for at least two months each. HealthPartners also requires patients to try and fail three medications, such as beta blockers and antidepressants, without specifying for how long. (Requirements may vary by state and policy.) Because these migraine drugs are designed to treat other conditions like high blood pressure and depression, they can have serious side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly.
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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.
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
Yes. The number of men receiving cosmetic treatments overall has risen by 325% over the last 20 years. And the number of men specifically choosing treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic has also risen fast– in the past three years alone, men have received over one million botulinum toxin treatments. When surveyed, the majority of men say they want to look good and they’re bothered by the changes they see in the mirror. 80% would choose to treat their crow’s feet first, while 74% would prioritize their forehead lines, and 60% would most like to treat their frown lines.†
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.”
A follow-up visit is most often scheduled at around three months after injection. The team will determine if it was helpful and if the effect is wearing off. The effect on muscle spasticity by botulinum toxin is temporary and can last for up to three to five months. This also varies with the amount of toxin injected, the size of the muscle, the degree of spasticity in the muscle, and treatment such as therapy and bracing.
No definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect associated with dermatologic use of BOTOX® Cosmetic at the labeled dose of 20 Units (for glabellar lines), 24 Units (for lateral canthal lines), 40 Units (for forehead lines with glabellar lines), 44 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines and glabellar lines), and 64 Units (for simultaneous treatment of lateral canthal lines, glabellar lines, and forehead lines) have been reported.
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Bronchitis was reported more frequently as an adverse reaction in patients treated for upper limb spas ticity with BOTOX (3% at 251 Units-360 Units total dose), compared to placebo (1%). In patients with reduced lung function treated for upper limb spasticity, up per respiratory tract infections were also reported more frequently as adverse reactions in pati ents treated with BOTOX (11% at 360 Units total dose; 8% at 240 Units total dose) compared to placebo (6%). In adult patients treated for lower limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were reported more frequently as an adverse event in patients treated with BOTOX (2% at 300 Units to 400 Units total dose) compared to placebo (1%).
With depression, Rosenthal and Finzi think it may relate to what's known as the facial-feedback hypothesis, a theory stemming from research by Charles Darwin and further explored by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. The theory posits that people's facial expressions can influence their mood. Lift your face into a smile and it may just cheer you up; if you can't frown or furrow your brow in worry, perhaps you won't feel so anxious or sad.

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Remember that the skill of the injector is extremely important when considering Botox injections. Because Botox can have some very obvious and embarrassing side effects like drooping eyelids, blurry vision, and excessive bruising around the injection site, it's important to consult with an experienced injector. Unlike dermal fillers which can be melted away with a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase, there's not much you can do about a bad Botox experience other than wait it out.
BOTOX was evaluated in two randomized, multi-center, 24-week, 2 injection cycle, placebo-controlled double-blind studies. Study 1 and Study 2 included chronic migraine adults who were not using any concurrent headache prophylaxis, and during a 28 -day baseline period had ≥15 headache days lasting 4 hours or more, with ≥50% being migraine/probable migraine. In both studies, patients were randomized to receive placebo or 155 Units to 195 Units BOTOX injections every 12 weeks for the 2-cycle, double-blind phase. Patients were allowed to use acute headache treatments during the study. BOTOX treatment demonstrated statistically significa nt and clinically meaningful improvements from baseline compared to placebo for key efficacy variables (see Table 24).
Botox often gets a bad rep for leaving patients looking a little frozen, but that's the fault of bad technique, not necessarily the procedure itself, explains Day. "In many places where it's not a trained aesthetic physician doing the injection, it's really just inject by number," she says. The problem with this is that no two faces, or even two sides of a face, are the same. "That cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach is what often gives these treatments a bad name," says Day.
Botulinum toxin is a purified substance that's derived from bacteria. Injections of botulinum toxin block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. Without a signal, the muscle is not able to contract. The end result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles or appearance. Commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin®.
This is where Botox comes into play. When you get consistent Botox injections, you prevent potential wrinkle formations from getting deeper or worse. Botox limits the range of facial muscle movement (when done skillfully, your face will not get that frozen look) so that wrinkles don't worsen over time. If you have a bad habit of frowning or lifting your brows for no reason, consistent Botox injections can also help your face kick these bad habits and therefore prevent any potential lines from getting etched in your skin. Getting frequent Botox injections may also help relax your facial muscles so that you don't need as a high a dose or as frequent as an injection to maintain your results.
Botox only lasts three to six months—and yet what's less commonly discussed is this: Facial muscles naturally weaken over time and going overboard in a certain area could have unwanted consequences. "If you do too much Botox on your forehead for many, many years, the muscles will get weaker and flatter," cautions Wexler, adding that the skin can also appear thinner and looser. Moreover, as your muscles become weaker, they can start to recruit surrounding muscles when you make facial expressions. "If one stops using their forehead muscles, they may start squinting using their nose and have wrinkles along the side of their nose," she explains. Translation: You need even more Botox for the newly recruited muscles, says Wexler. To avoid these kind of missteps, researching a doctor diligently is essential, as is approaching injectables conservatively, and asking questions about how the treatment will be tailored to your needs.
Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”
For blepharospasm, reconstituted BOTOX is injected using a sterile, 27-30 gauge needle without electromyographic guidance. The initial recommended dose is 1.25 Units-2.5 Units (0.05 mL to 0.1 mL volume at each site) injected into the medial and lateral pre tarsal orbicularis oculi of the upper lid and into the lateral pre-tarsal orbicularis oculi of the lower lid. Avoiding injection near the levator palpebrae superioris may reduce the complication of ptosis. Avoiding medial lower lid injections, and thereby reducin g diffusion into the inferior oblique, may reduce the complication of diplopia. Ecchymosis occurs easily in the soft eyelid tissues. This can be prevented by applying pressure at the injection site immediately after the injection.
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.

The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
Twenty two adult patients, enrolled in double-blind placebo controlled studies, received 400 Units or higher of BOTOX for treatment of upper limb spasticity. In addition, 44 adults received 400 Units of BOTOX or higher for four consecutive treatments over approximately one year for treatment of upper limb spasticity. The type and frequency of ad verse reactions observed in patients treated with 400 Units of BOTOX were similar to those reported in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with 360 Units of BOTOX.
After a muscle has been injected, the nerves still send the signal to the muscle to contract, and the acetylcholine is still released, but is unable to bind to the muscle, resulting in a reduction of muscle activity and temporarily preventing contraction of the muscles that cause frown lines. The binding process typically begins within about 48 hours from the time it is injected into the muscle, and results typically become noticeable within 7 to 10 days. While results are often most noticeable in dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that appear when a muscle contracts), it can also help soften wrinkles that are present even without muscle contraction. If you’re serious about improving the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines, it may be just the right treatment option for you.
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