Botox is said to decrease the frequency of migraine days by an average of 50 percent for those who suffer chronically (people who experience 15 or more headache days per month). After going through hell with my insurance to get approval, I scheduled an appointment with New York City neurologist and pain-management specialist Risa Ravitz. She was kind enough to speak with me about the wonders of Botox while we did my first procedure in June 2017.
Extraocular muscles adjacent to the injection site can be affected, causing vertical deviation, especially with higher do ses of BOTOX. The incidence rates of these adverse effects in 2058 adults who received a total of 3650 injections for horizontal strabismus was 17%. The incidence of ptosis has been reported to be dependent on the location of the injected muscles, 1% after inferior rectus injections, 16% after horizontal rectus injections and 38% after superior rectus injections.
In general, the initial effect of the injections is seen within three days and reaches a peak at one to two weeks post-treatment. Each treatment lasts approximately three months, following which the procedure can be repeated. At repeat treatment sessions, the dose may be increased up to two-fold if the response from the initial treatment is considered insufficient, usually defined as an effect that does not last longer than two months. However, there appears to be little benefit obtainable from injecting more than 5 Units per site. Some tolerance may be found when BOTOX is used in treating blepharospasm if treatments are given any more frequently than every three months, and is rare to have the effect be permanent.
I don’t know what’s harder, being a mom or living with migraine. Having both can be overwhelming. Over the years, as a stay-at-home mom of two and chronic migraine fighter, I have learned to adapt my life and my children’s lives to migraine. I alter my family’s schedule around my children’s naps, meals and moods, while also keeping in mind my migraine attacks, sensitivities, triggers and abilities.
Patients should shave underarms and abstain from use of over-the-counter deodorants or antiperspirants for 24 hours prior to the test. Patient should be resting comfortably without exercise, hot drinks for approximately 30 minutes prior to the test. Dry the underarm area and then immediately paint it with iodine solution. Allow the area to dry, then lightly sprinkle the area with starch powder. Gently blow off any excess starch powder. The hyperhidrotic area will develop a deep blue-black color over approximately 10 minutes.
Botox essentially paralyzes the muscles and stops them from contracting. Results are visible within one week after treatment and remain for a minimum of three months. Some surgeons suggest that Zytaze, a new prescription zinc supplement, can extend these results if taken in the days leading up to your Botox injections. Ask your doctor about Zytaze before your next Botox injection.
Don’t be a pill. You're more likely to get a bruise at the site of the needle injection if you're taking aspirin or ibuprofen; these medications thin the blood and increase bleeding which causes the bruise. Skip the pills for two weeks in advance of your treatment. You should also tell your doctor -- before treatment -- about any supplements you're taking, even if they're "natural," because some (such as fish oil pills, gingko, or vitamin E) also thin blood. Your doctor may ask you not to use those supplements for two weeks before your treatment.
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.”
The potency Units of BOTOX 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 DESCRIPTION].
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”
The effects of botulinum toxin are different from those of nerve agents involved insofar in that botulism symptoms develop relatively slowly (over several days), while nerve agent effects are generally much more rapid and can be instantaneous. Evidence suggests that nerve exposure (simulated by injection of atropine and pralidoxime) will increase mortality by enhancing botulinum toxin's mechanism of toxicity.
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.)
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.
The following adverse reactions with BOTOX 200 Units were reported at any time following initial injection and prior to re -injection or study exit (median duration of exposure was 44 weeks): urinary tract infections (49%), urinary retention (17%), constipation (4%), muscular weakness (4%), dysuria (4%), fall (3%), gait disturbance (3%), and muscle spasm (2%).
Once the protein stops functioning at the neuromuscular junction, it is broken down into its harmless components (amino acids) and either recycled for use in other proteins or excreted by the kidneys. "The bigger the muscle, the quicker you'll see motion return," says Rowe. "Likewise, the smaller the muscle, the longer the effect of botox lasts." It doesn't have a tolerance effect, either—your body never gets used to Botox.
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Patients with smaller neck muscle mass and patients who require bilateral injections into the sternocleidomastoid muscle for the treatment of cervical dystonia have been reported to be at greater risk for dysphagia. Limiting the dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle may reduce the occurrence of dysphagia. Injections into the levator scapulae may be associated wit h an increased risk of upper respiratory infection and dysphagia.
Dr. Starling says the FDA approval indicates that the anti-CGRP treatments are ideal for individuals with episodic migraine who have four to 14 headache days per month, and people with chronic migraine who have 15 or more headache days per month. Clinical trials are also being conducted to see if anti-CGRP antibodies are effective for the treatment of cluster headache. “The initial studies have demonstrated that it’s likely effective for cluster headache patients,” Dr. Starling says. The FDA’s approval of these medications has been incredibly meaningful for the migraine community. “The migraine community is feeling like they’re relevant—that they’re being seen, heard and taken seriously,” Dr. Starling says. “There are many people who are working hard to develop more treatment options until we can address every patient who has migraine, and eventually find a cure.”
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including: plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; have trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breast-feeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).