So when I first propositioned my husband about the idea of me getting a bit of Botox for the furrowed brow I've earned from a decade of writing and editing behind a computer screen, he was adamantly against it. And frankly, I was a bit scared too. I mean, isn't Botox poison? As an idealistic 21 year old, it was easy to say that I'd never put that stuff in my body, that "poison." Now, I'm not so sure.
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, trouble swallowing.
Some doctors and dermatologists recommend lying down and resting after a treatment, but Ravitz says she doesn't think there's any need for downtime unless a patient experiences pain. It can take about two weeks to work, though some patients start to feel relief from chronic migraines sooner than that. Ravitz tells me, "If it’s going to work for a patient, one round of the treatment typically lasts for around three months." Though everybody metabolizes it at a different rate, getting it done every three months or so has been found to be effective.
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/2 mL, 200 Units/4 mL, 100 Units/1 mL, or 100 Units/2 mL with preservative-free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP, depending on volume and number of injection sites desired to achieve treatment objectives (see Table 1). In general, no more than 50 Units per site should be administered using a sterile needle (e.g., 25-30 gauge) of an appropriate length. Localization of the involved muscles with electromyographic guidance may be useful.
Think about it this way: people make facial expressions every single day, whether it's expressing an emotion (i.e. smiling) or simply out of habit (i.e. raising your brows). Making facial expressions causes temporary dynamic lines to show up in your face. These lines go away when your face returns to rest. However, as you continue to make facial expressions, day after day and year after year, and as your skin ages, these lines start to get etched in your skin. That's when frown lines get progressively deeper for people who frown all the time. Or when crow's feet stay put even after you stop smiling or squinting. Eventually, what once were dynamic wrinkles become wrinkles that are just there, even when you don't make any facial expressions.
Although one cannot predict exactly who will respond, I find that those patients who are going to respond will note some improvement in headaches following the first set of injections. Repeat injection sets can be performed on the same patient no sooner than every 3 months, as long as a benefit is seen. Most insurers require that you document at least a 50% improvement in the chronic migraine frequency and/or severity for continued coverage. I usually recommend that my migraine patients have a second set of injections before deciding that this treatment modality is of no benefit to them.
"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.
With regard to detection, current protocols using NBC detection equipment (such as M-8 paper or the ICAM) will not indicate a "positive" when samples containing botulinum toxin are tested. To confirm a diagnosis of botulinum toxin poisoning, therapeutically or to provide evidence in death investigations, botulinum toxin may be quantitated by immunoassay of human biological fluids; serum levels of 12–24 mouse LD50 units per milliliter have been detected in poisoned patients.
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.
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.
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.†
It can also be expensive. Depending on your insurance, it can cost quite a lot of money — I've changed insurance providers since I first started, and my first provider was around $330 a month and charged me around $1,000 per Botox round (remember, that's four times a year). My new plan is much more expensive, around $600 a month, but the Botox copay is only $30 each time, so even if Botox is the only medical procedure I need to have done in the year, it made sense to switch.
Contrary to popular belief, the bacteria that causes botulism, clostridium botulinum, is not part of the treatment, nor are six of the seven neurotoxins it secretes. The only substance used in Botox injections, botulinum toxin A, is carefully extracted, purified, and standardized into FDA-approved doses. Plus, the dosage is so small, it can't get beyond the muscle tissue it's injected into, meaning there's little if any chance for Botox to reach the bloodstream.
But it could be something else altogether. In 2008, Matteo Caleo, a researcher at the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, published a controversial study showing that when he injected the muscles of rats with Botox, he found evidence of the drug in the brain stem. He also injected Botox into one side of the brain in mice and found that it spread to the opposite side. That suggested the toxin could access the nervous system and the brain.
In the third study, 25 patients with chronic migraine were injected with 12.5 doses of botox into each trigger point twice, during a period of 3 months. Frequency (main variable), intensity and scales of migraine crises were recorded one month before and one month after the treatment to compare the changes experienced. In addition, side effects were also recorded during the experiment, and they were found to be mild and temporary.
Ray Chester, an attorney in Austin who has represented several plaintiffs in lawsuits against Allergan, says that just about all the cases he has handled involved off-label use of the drug. In 2014 a New York couple argued that Botox, which they chose to try off-label to treat their son's cerebral-palsy symptoms, caused life-threatening complications. The family was awarded $6.75 million by a jury. Allergan, which initially planned to appeal, ended up privately settling the case with the family, and the terms of the settlement have been kept confidential.
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But in a recent Fat Mascara podcast, NYC dermatologist Pat Wexler, MD, said this is a myth. And Dr. Matarasso falls somewhere in-between. “For aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, does a 19-year-old need this? No. Does a 26-year-old need this for aesthetic purposes? Highly doubtful. But, hey, listen, if you are like, ‘I am looking at my parents, I am looking at my genes, and I want to stay proactive,’ it is not unreasonable to introduce it in small amounts.”
In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
"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."
There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines, crow’s feet lines, and/or forehead lines.