BOTOX® is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause a form of muscle paralysis known as botulism, which is usually associated with food poisoning. Even though one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted (weakened) amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles, causing controlled relaxation of the muscles.
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Simply put, "Baby Botox" uses a lower volume of Botox (a.k.a. botulinum toxin injections) than a traditional injection to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. "Instead of using 25 units in an area, you may use 10 units," Melissa Doft, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. "I have many patients who ask for half the normal dose, as they do not want to look frozen but are tired of wrinkles in photos. First-time Botox patients are perfect for this."
They affect 39 million folks in the U.S., 4 million of whom deal with daily pain. Chronic migraines can severely inhibit daily life, and when I started to feel like my bad days were outnumbering my good, I knew I needed to find a solution. Botox had been suggested to me multiple times before by friends, family, and doctors, and though it took quite a while to get it approved by insurance and find a provider I trusted, my migraines were making it hard to live a normal life, so I decided to try it out.

Ophthalmologists specializing in eye muscle disorders (strabismus) had developed the method of EMG-guided injection (using the electromyogram, the electrical signal from an activated muscle, to guide injection) of local anesthetics as a diagnostic technique for evaluating an individual muscle’s contribution to an eye movement.[44] Because strabismus surgery frequently needed repeating, a search was undertaken for non-surgical, injection treatments using various anesthetics, alcohols, enzymes, enzyme blockers, and snake neurotoxins. Finally, inspired by Daniel Drachman’s work with chicks at Johns Hopkins,[45] Alan B Scott and colleagues injected botulinum toxin into monkey extraocular muscles.[46] The result was remarkable: a few picograms induced paralysis that was confined to the target muscle, long in duration, and without side-effects.
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.
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.”
The cosmetic benefits came to light in the 1990s by happy coincidence. “The aesthetic indications were purely happenstance,” says board-certified surgeon and clinical professor Seth L. Matarasso, MD, who has been treating his clients with Botox since the 1990s but is not affiliated with the brand. “Dr. [Jean] Carruthers was working with patients with strabismus...[and] with diplopia [double vision], and her patients were coming in and saying, ‘Gee, my wrinkles are better.'" Soon enough, doctors were using Botox for what it is most commonly associated with today — nixing lines.

The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 30 injections of 1 mL (~6.7 Units) each (total volume of 30 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal s aline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, the saline used for bladder wall visualization should be drained. The patient should be observed for at least 30 minutes post -injection.


The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.
I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.

According to the PREEMPT paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA into four sites (total 20 units) into the frontalis muscle is done. The injection points are located by visually drawing a line up from the medial edge of the supraorbital rim. Patients will be injected into the muscle in the upper third of the forehead at least 1 to 2 fingerbreadths above the corrugator injection site. The lateral muscle injection areas are parallel and approximately 1 fingerbreadth lateral to the medial injection site, which is roughly in line with either the midpupillary line or the lateral edge of the cornea, which is the limbus line. In cases in which I am worried about ptosis, I inject the frontalis close to the hairline. In order to reduce the risk of these unwanted effects, injections should be administered in the upper third of the forehead only. The needle should be inserted at a 45° angle superiorly. Because the frontalis is an elevator muscle, weakening can cause brow ptosis or exacerbate preexisting brow ptosis.
Step therapy is largely unregulated both at the state and federal level, though individual states have started to pass legislation to limit step therapy and protect patients: 19 US states, including California, Mississippi, and Illinois, have laws that require insurance companies to grant certain exemptions or to review appeals from doctors within 72 hours so patients can get a waiver. But even then, getting a waiver isn’t always easy.
Botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum is the cause of botulism.[9] Humans most commonly ingest the toxin from eating improperly-canned foods in which C. botulinum has grown. However, the toxin can also be introduced through an infected wound. In infants, the bacteria can sometimes grow in the intestines and produce botulinum toxin within the intestine and can cause a condition known as floppy baby syndrome.[32] In all cases, the toxin can then spread, blocking nerves and muscle function. In severe cases, the toxin can block nerves controlling the respiratory system or heart, resulting in death.[1] Botulism can be difficult to diagnose, as it may appear similar to diseases such as Guillain–Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and stroke. Other tests, such as brain scan and spinal fluid examination, may help to rule out other causes. If the symptoms of botulism are diagnosed early, various treatments can be administered. In an effort to remove contaminated food which remains in the gut, enemas or induced vomiting may be used.[33] For wound infections, infected material may be removed surgically.[33] Botulinum antitoxin is available and may be used to prevent the worsening of symptoms, though it will not reverse existing nerve damage. In severe cases, mechanical respiration may be used to support patients suffering from respiratory failure.[33] The nerve damage heals over time, generally over weeks to months.[4] With proper treatment, the case fatality rate for botulinum poisoning can be greatly reduced.[33]
Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) received FDA approval for treatment of chronic migraines on October 15, 2010. The toxin is injected into the head and neck to treat these chronic headaches. Approval followed evidence presented to the agency from two studies funded by Allergan showing a very slight improvement in incidence of chronic migraines for migraine sufferers undergoing the Botox treatment.[86][87]
In a study to evaluate inadvertent peribladder administration, bladder stones were observed in 1 of 4 mal e monkeys that were injected with a total of 6.8 Units/kg divided into the prostatic urethra and proximal rectum (single administration). No bladder stones were observed in male or female monkeys following injection of up to 36 Units/kg (~12X the highest human bladder dose) directly to the bladder as either single or 4 repeat dose injections or in female rats for single injections up to 100 Units/kg (~33X the highest human bladder dose).
BOTOX is administered about every three months, and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger, relaxing the surrounding muscles so that they won’t compress the nerve and trigger a migraine. It is a potent drug, and we only recommend using it if other preventative treatment options haven’t helped you. It is generally only administered to patients who have at least 14 headaches a month, or don’t respond to other treatments.
In 2005, the national average cost of a BOTOX® injection was just over $375. However, the cost of BOTOX® treatment varies from area to area. In 2005, the northeastern United States had the highest BOTOX® average cost, at just over $500, while the western states had the lowest average, at under $370. It is important to keep in mind that these statistics may be somewhat misleading, as the cost of BOTOX® injections in Los Angeles will almost certainly be higher than BOTOX® treatment price in say, a rural area of Pennsylvania.
Other adverse reactions that occurred more frequently in the BOTOX group compared to the placebo group at a frequency less th an 1% and potentially BOTOX related include: vertigo, dry eye, eyelid edema, dysphagia, eye infection, and jaw pain. Severe worsening of migraine requiring hospitalization occurred in approximately 1% of BOTOX treated patients in Study 1 and Study 2, usually within the first week after treatment, compared to 0.3% of placebo-treated patients.
In November, the FDA held a two-day hearing asking for expert comment on the agency's rules concerning off-label drug use and marketing. Some said the practice paves the way for scientific progress and gives doctors and their patients much needed alternatives for hard-to-treat medical conditions. Others said that off-label drug use is primarily financially motivated and that it poses a serious threat to public health, particularly when drugs are used experimentally on children.

In November, the FDA held a two-day hearing asking for expert comment on the agency's rules concerning off-label drug use and marketing. Some said the practice paves the way for scientific progress and gives doctors and their patients much needed alternatives for hard-to-treat medical conditions. Others said that off-label drug use is primarily financially motivated and that it poses a serious threat to public health, particularly when drugs are used experimentally on children.

“We don’t believe Botox is expensive when you look at the value that we provide,” says Marc Forth, senior vice president of US marketing at Allergan, the maker of Botox. Botox halves migraine days in 50 percent of patients who get the injections, Forth says. “We believe that value is worth the tradeoff.” Allergan doesn’t have a say on step therapy policies. Insurers “ultimately make that call on their own,” Forth says.


The primary release procedure for BOTOX uses a cell-based potency assay to determine the potency relative to a reference standard. The assay is specific to Allergan's products BOTOX and BOTOX Cosmetic. One Unit of BOTOX corresponds to the calculated median intraperitoneal lethal dose (LD50) in mice. Due to specific details of this assay such as the vehicle, dilution scheme, and laboratory protocols, Units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into Units of any other botulinum toxin or any toxin assessed with any other specific assay method. The specific activity of BOTOX is approximately 20 Units/nanogram of neurotoxin protein complex.
The patient’s neck stability, posture, torsion, and symmetry should be assessed to determine whether he or she may be at increased risk for adverse events prior to the first injection cycle. A patient with preexisting neck pain and/or weakness may be at higher risk for exacerbation of the condition upon injection of the occipitalis, cervical paraspinal, or trapezius muscle groups. Patients with smaller frames may be at higher risk for neck weakness. Indicated injection sites can still be injected with minimal side effects and unwanted outcomes as long as correct injection sites are targeted and treatments are administered using a superficial approach with avoidance of the mid and lower cervical regions. The cervical paraspinal muscle group is made up of multiple muscles including the trapezius, splenius capitis and cervicis, and semispinalis capitus. This group of muscles helps support the neck, including extension of the head.
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The number of headache days determines whether the patient has episodic migraine (EM) (14 or fewer headache days a month) or CM (more than 15 days of headache a month). The best method of determining the actual number of headache days is to subtract this from the number of completely headache-free days in a month. If headache is present on more than half the days in the month, and there are migraine features on at least 8 days a month, the condition is termed CM. The migraine features only have to be present on 8 days out of the month and not on every headache day. The other headache days in this condition are considered to be milder forms of migraine, and they do not have all the typical migraine features. If headache is present on fewer than 15 days a month, this is referred to as EM. EM can transform to CM over time. If analgesics are used on 10 or more days per month, this can lead to a transformation to CM. The patient’s headache pattern over a 12-month period should be determined, and during this time, there should be at least 3 months with 15 headache days; 8 of these days should meet migraine criteria.1-3
"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."
BOTOX is indicated for the treatment of upper limb spasticity in adult patients, to decrease the severity of increased muscle tone in elbow flexors (biceps), wrist flexors (flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris) , finger flexors (flexor digitorum profundus and flexor digitorum sublimis), and thumb flexors (adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus).
Ophthalmologists specializing in eye muscle disorders (strabismus) had developed the method of EMG-guided injection (using the electromyogram, the electrical signal from an activated muscle, to guide injection) of local anesthetics as a diagnostic technique for evaluating an individual muscle’s contribution to an eye movement.[44] Because strabismus surgery frequently needed repeating, a search was undertaken for non-surgical, injection treatments using various anesthetics, alcohols, enzymes, enzyme blockers, and snake neurotoxins. Finally, inspired by Daniel Drachman’s work with chicks at Johns Hopkins,[45] Alan B Scott and colleagues injected botulinum toxin into monkey extraocular muscles.[46] The result was remarkable: a few picograms induced paralysis that was confined to the target muscle, long in duration, and without side-effects.
If you find that your Botox wears off really fast, speak to the person who gave you the injections to find out why (i.e. if the Botox was too diluted, not enough was injected, the Botox was old, your anatomy requires a different technique, you might be resistant to Botox, etc). A reputable doctor will work with you to figure out how to make the Botox treatments worth your time and money. Keep in mind that for some people, Botox takes time to kick in - approximately 1-2 days to be noticeable and 1-2 weeks to peak.

Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
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.
Cornea problems have been reported. Cornea (surface of the eye) problems have been reported in some people receiving BOTOX® for their blepharospasm, especially in people with certain nerve disorders. BOTOX® may cause the eyelids to blink less, which could lead to the surface of the eye being exposed to air more than is usual. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your eyes while receiving BOTOX®. Your doctor may treat your eyes with drops, ointments, contact lenses, or with an eye patch.
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