Botulism toxins are produced by bacteria of the genus Clostridium, namely Clostridium botulinum, C. butyricum, C. baratii and C. argentinense, which are widely distributed, including in soil and dust. As well, the bacteria can be found inside homes on floors, carpet, and countertops even after cleaning. Some food products such as honey can contain amounts of the bacteria.
After working out techniques for freeze-drying, buffering with albumin, and assuring sterility, potency, and safety, Scott applied to the FDA for investigational drug use, and began manufacturing botulinum type A neurotoxin in his San Francisco lab. He injected the first strabismus patients in 1977, reported its clinical utility in 1980, and had soon trained hundreds of ophthalmologists in EMG-guided injection of the drug he named Oculinum ("eye aligner").
Botulinum toxin injections are one approach to the treatment of muscle spasticity. These injections can be given with ease and have minimal side effects. They can also be used in very focal spasticity problems that involve a few muscle groups. This treatment may not be right for some patients, such as patients with severe, widespread muscle spasticity, and patients with permanent muscle contractures that have become rigid.
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"A migraines is an inherited neurological condition that features headaches as the most common symptom," says Robbins. "Headaches are not the only symptoms people can have. They can have sensitivity to the environment around them like light and sound. They can have nausea, which can lead to vomiting. They can have blurred vision. In a minority, but sizable number of people, it can progress to what we call chronic migraines."
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.
In patients who are not catheterizing, post-void residual (PVR) urine volume should be assessed within 2 weeks post-treatment and periodically as medically appropriate up to 12 weeks, particularly in patients with multiple sclerosis or diabetes mellitus. Depending on patient symptoms, institute catheterization if PVR urine volume exceeds 200 mL and continue until PVR falls below 200 mL. Instruct patients to contact their physician if they experience difficulty in voiding as catheterization may be required.
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In clinical trials, 6.5% of patients (36/552) initiated clean intermittent catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units as compared to 0.4% of patients (2/542) treated with placebo. The median duration of catheterization for patients treated with BOTOX® 100 Units was 63 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 214 days) as compared to a median duration 11 days (minimum 3 days to maximum 18 days) for patients receiving placebo.
As with any drug, Allergan is legally required to make known Botox's most severe potential side effects, and in 2009 the FDA required Botox to bear a black-box warning--the strongest type of warning label given to any drug--cautioning that there was evidence the drug had been linked to serious side effects. With Botox, this includes effects spreading from the injection site to other parts of the body, causing muscle weakness, double vision and drooping eyelids.
Ratings on RealSelf.com (www.RealSelf.com) show a satisfaction rate of 65% for Botox, which is on par with other treatments such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane and slightly higher than Xeomin and Dysport. Longer-term treatments, such as Ultherapy facial tightening and Liposuction/SmartLipo achieve ratings in the 80% and above area, while others such as CoolSculpting (Zeltiq) achieve ratings in the 70% area. This may reflect upon the short-term nature of all botulinum toxins versus the longer-term nature of these other procedures.
"Botox is a toxin that is extracted from a certain bacteria. It's been used for a couple of hundred years in medicine. It was first used in neurological conditions rather than cosmetic ones. It was first approved to treat spasms of the face and eye muscles. Only later was it discovered coincidentally that it could world for cosmetic purposes, like wrinkles," he says.
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.”
Though botulinum toxin is available under different names, Botox is the only one that is FDA-approved for migraine prevention. To be considered for Botox, patients must have migraines 15 days or more per month, which is considered chronic daily migraine. About 4 million Americans have such migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Also, patients must have tried and failed on at least 2 other medications first.