I had no idea my health insurance could take Botox away from me. I checked Cigna’s policy and found out that in order to continue receiving Botox coverage after one year, I need to get at least seven fewer migraine days — or at least 100 fewer migraine hours — per month compared to pre-Botox treatments. (I keep a diary to record when I have migraines.) Worse still, if I were to change my job — and therefore change my health insurance — my new insurance could ask me to run through the cheap medication gauntlet again before covering Botox.

The studies using Botox for depression, like other research into Botox's off-label potential, were so encouraging that they caught the attention of Allergan. In Rosenthal and Finzi's research, 74 people with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive Botox injections or a placebo. Six weeks later, 52% of the people who received Botox experienced a drop in reported symptoms, compared with 15% of the people given a placebo. "Over 50% of people responding is a high number," says Finzi. "These are people who have already tried other treatments, and they are significantly depressed."


Study 3 compared 3 doses of BOTOX with placebo and enrolled 88 patients [BOTOX 360 Units (N=23), BOTOX 180 Units (N=23), BOTOX 90 Units (N=23), and placebo (N=19)] with upper limb spasticity (expanded Ashworth score of at least 2 for elbow flexor tone and at least 3 for wrist flexor tone and/or finger flexor tone) who were at least 6 weeks post -stroke. BOTOX and placebo were injected with EMG guidance into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum sublimi s, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and biceps brachii (see Table 27).
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of BOTOX. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These reactions include: abdominal pain; alopecia, including madarosis; anorexia; brachial plexopathy; denervation/muscle atrophy; diarrhea; hyperhidrosis; hypoacusis; hypoaesthesia; malaise; paresthesia; peripheral neuropathy; radiculopathy; erythema multiforme, dermatitis psoriasiform, and psoriasiform eruption; strabismus; tinnitus; and visual disturbances.
Exploratory analyses of this study suggested that the majority of patients who had shown a beneficial response by week 6 had returned to their baseline status by 3 months after treatment. Exploratory analyses of subsets by patient sex and age suggest that both sexes receive benefit, although female patients may receive somewhat greater amounts than male patients. There is a consistent trea tmentassociated effect between subsets greater than and less than age 65. There were too few non-Caucasian patients enrolled to draw any conclusions regarding relative efficacy in racial subsets.
With small children, I find that being prepared allows us to function better.  My family food preps for the week with fruits, veggies and snack-size portions. I keep the snacks on a shelf that my children can easily reach, so they can choose a healthy option if they’re hungry and I’m unable to get up. Meals are well-thought-out and prepared ahead of time, in case of a migraine attack. I always have a back-up plan for my children. I have alternative arrangements for them after school if I am unable to care for them or myself. I also have activities planned. I keep crafts around that occupy my children’s time but also keep sound and stress to a minimum. We color, build Legos and play with Play-Doh all while sitting in rooms with strategically placed lights and brightness. I save screen time for when I need a few moments of quiet. We keep a routine and schedule, but also stay flexible. A schedule allows my family to know what to expect for our days and evenings. My children are able to continue their day if I have a migraine attack because they know what needs to be done and in what order. We have strict bedtimes that allow my children’s brains to grow and mine to recover. Along with this, I have taught them that moms don’t always feel well, and we may need to adjust the schedule from time to time to accommodate my migraine. I keep medication that can fight a migraine attack with me for use on the go and safely at home. I see a neurologist on a regular basis who helps me manage my migraine symptoms and medication.
Though there's still more research to be done on Botox for migraines and doctors aren't yet completely sure why the procedure is effective, they have some ideas. Ravitz tells me, "What [Botox] does is paralyze nerve terminals. Essentially, nerve terminals transmit pain, but they also produce pain substances while they’re doing that, and it completely paralyzes that process." She says that it stops the process of pain patterning and it also relaxes the muscles.
Ptosis generally occurs from injecting the frontalis incorrectly. The worst mistake is for the injector to move the procerus and corrugator injection points higher, where they will place more onabotulinumtoxinA into the frontalis. It is important to examine patients to determine their preexisting conditions prior to treatment administration. In particular, patients should be examined for pre-existing eyelid ptosis or pseudoptosis. With pseudoptosis, the lid strength is normal, but soft tissue covers part of the upper lid. With lid ptosis, the lid strength is weak. For both lid ptosis and pseudoptosis, patients will have frontalis compensatory activity, resulting in upgoing eyebrows (reverse Babinski sign). With brow ptosis, the frontalis is weak, and the eyebrow is depressed downward leading to tissue resting on the upper lid. To avoid this, the frontalis should be injected in the upper third of the forehead. The corrugator muscle attaches to bone at the medial end of the superciliary arch. The muscle fibers travel laterally and upward inserting into the skin in the middle of the supraorbital margin. The corrugator muscle is partially blended with the orbicularis oculi and occipitofrontalis. The supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves pass through the corrugator muscle. The corrugator muscle acts to pull the eyebrows downward and medially, which causes vertical wrinkle lines in the skin between the brows.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is to be administered to two sites on each side for a total dose of 20 units across four sites in the cervical paraspinal muscle group near the midline. The first injection site is approximately 1 cm left of the midline of the cervical spine and approximately 3 cm (2 fingerbreadths) inferior to the occipital protuberance. The second site is measured approximately 1 fingerbreadth diagonally up at a 45° angle from the first injection. The injections should be administered in the most superficial aspect of the muscle, angling the needle 45° and superiorly. To aid in the placement of the injections, the patient should be positioned upright with the head in a neutral position. If the neck is flexed too far forward, injections may be too deep. Injections that are too low or too deep in this muscle group can lead to muscle weakness and neck pain. Injectors should use a suboccipital approach to ensure that the injection sites are not too low. In addition, a horizontal line can be visualized across the neck, approximately 2 fingerbreadths down from the occipital protuberance, to make certain the injections remain above the line and are not administered too low in the neck. The higher these injections are, the more likely that they will be in the muscle fascial condensation, which will minimize the potential for neck weakness. These injections should not be done below the hairline. Patients who have trigger points in the neck should not be injected at these sites as these are generally areas where muscles may be weakened and injections of onabotulinumtoxinA at these sites might worsen their neck issues.
The efficacy of BOTOX for the treatment of upper limb spasticity was evaluated in three randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (Studies 1, 2, and 3). Two additional randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies for upper limb spasticity in adults also included the evaluation of the efficacy of BOTOX for the treatment of thumb spasticity (Studies 4 and 5).
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.
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