Botox is best known for smoothing out wrinkles, but since 2010 it’s also been used to prevent migraines. (Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why Botox works, though it may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.) Though the 36 injections I get every three months in my forehead, skull, neck, and shoulders are painful, they’ve been a game changer. I went from 16 to 18 migraines a month to about eight. The intensity of the pain has gone down, too. The results are so good that I find myself frustrated that I spent so many years in unnecessary misery.
Botox gained popularity and notoriety as a wrinkle reducer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it wasn’t long before researchers recognized the potential of Botox for treating medical conditions, too. Today it’s used to treat problems such as repetitive neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a preventive treatment option for chronic migraines.
The potency Units of BOTOX (onabotulinumtoxinA) for injection 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 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DESCRIPTION] .
In double-blind, placebo-controlled chronic migraine efficacy trials (Study 1 and Study 2), the discontinuation rate was 12% in the BOTOX treated group and 10% in the placebo-treated group. Discontinuations due to an adverse event were 4% in the BOTOX group and 1% in the placebo group. The most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation in the BOTOX group were neck pain, headache, worsening migraine, muscular weakness and eyelid ptosis.
Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or neuromuscular junction disorders (eg, myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome) should be monitored when given botulinum toxin. Patients with known or unrecognized neuromuscular disorders or neuromuscular junction disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant effects including generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphonia, dysarthria, severe dysphagia, and respiratory compromise from therapeutic doses of BOTOX® (see Warnings and Precautions).
In a double-blind study of 123 adults with regular, chronic migraine, the adults receiving botulinum toxin type A experienced fewer migraine attacks each month. In addition, attacks they did experience were less intense, of shorter duration, and required less treatment than adults who did not receive Botox injections for migraine. These injections were also well-tolerated in adults experiencing migraine with and without aura.
Dysphagia occurred in 2% of subjects in the clinical trials in the setting of administration-site reactions, eg, pain, swelling, and induration of the submental area; all cases of dysphagia resolved spontaneously (range 1-81 days, median 3 days). Avoid use of KYBELLA® in patients with current or prior history of dysphagia as treatment may exacerbate the condition.

Lastly, a Botox treatment does not offer permanent results. Botox is most effective when treatments are carried out at regular intervals before the results fully wear off. On average, the results last for three to four months,  although Botox metabolizes at different rates in different individuals. The first ever Botox treatment you receive may not last as long as subsequent treatments, plus you may require touch-ups two weeks after the procedure as your injector determines the right dosage for you. Over time, however, many patients notice that they can wait longer intervals between treatments as their treated facial muscles weaken.

Autonomic dysreflexia in patients treated for overactive bladder due to neurologic disease. Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX® could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).
It's a remarkable arc for a drug that only a few years ago was associated with Hollywood cocktail parties where guests came for Bellinis and left with a forehead full of Botox injections. It highlights the advances that can occur when physicians, seeking new therapies for their patients, explore creative new uses for approved drugs--basically, real-world experiments that take place largely beyond the reach of federal regulators. That, in turn, raises questions about the risks of deploying medicines in ways that have not been fully vetted. But it happens all the time.
If, however, you are on a budget, you might want to wait until the end of the year to get your Botox injections. Botox promotions, whether from the Brilliant Distinctions program or from individual doctor's offices, are more common towards the end of the year when people want to get touch ups and look their best for the holidays. However, if someone is offering Botox for a ridiculously cheap price (like you sometimes see on deal websites like Groupon.com), that should raise some red flags. You tend to get what you pay for and in my experience with my mom's Botox treatments, it is better to overpay than underpay. Don't get Botox from a shady place just because it's cheap. Remember, you are not only paying for the units of Botox per treatment, you are also paying for the skill and expertise of the doctor. So make sure you get Botox from a well-trained, reputable physician!
It's also not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for depression, not that that stops doctors from prescribing it that way. Such off-label use of Botox, like that of any FDA-approved drug, is legal in the U.S. That's because once a drug has been approved by the FDA for a condition, licensed physicians are legally allowed to prescribe it for any medical issue they think it could benefit, regardless of whether it's been proved to work for that condition.
Robert Anolik, a board-certified, cosmetic dermatologist explains, "The cost for these types of treatments is widely variable, as every patient needs different amounts and in different areas. It could be a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. For example, a patient may have deepened nasolabial folds (smile lines) requiring multiple syringes of Restylane Defyne. Or a patient could need a subtle lift with a small amount of Restylane-Lyft in the cheeks and mid-face. I find many of my patients will come in consistently for Dysport (Dysport spreads out a bit more, so you're able to get a better global balancing, whereas Botox has a little more of an isolated effect) every three to four months on average, and then we will review what might be needed among the fillers. Often more syringes of filler may be needed at first and then we can maintain over time."
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Sunburn alert: The AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and AHA/BHA Cream in the Lytera® 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System contain an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Patients should use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using these products (or this system) and for a week following.
Over time, the muscles above and between the eyebrows repeatedly contract and tighten, causing wrinkles. Botox Cosmetic works beneath the skin’s surface and targets the underlying muscle activity that causes frown lines and crow’s feet to form over time. Normally when we squint, frown, or make other facial expressions, our nerves release a neurotransmitter chemical, known as acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter binds to receptors within the muscle to make it contract. Wrinkle relaxers like Botox and DYSPORT® work by binding to the acetylcholine receptors, and blocking the signal from the nerve to the muscles.
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases.[11] The active form consists of a two-chain protein composed of a 100-kDa heavy chain polypeptide joined via disulfide bond to a 50-kDa light chain polypeptide.[35] The heavy chain contains domains with several functions: it has the domain responsible for binding specifically to presynaptic nerve terminals, as well as the domain responsible for mediating translocation of the light chain into the cell cytoplasm as the vacuole acidifies.[1][35] The light chain is a zinc metalloprotease and is the active part of the toxin. It is translocated into the host cell cytoplasm where it cleaves the host protein SNAP-25, a member of the SNARE protein family which is responsible for fusion. The cleaved SNAP-25 is unable to mediate fusion of vesicles with the host cell membrane, thus preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings.[1] This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.[1]
Botox is best known for smoothing out wrinkles, but since 2010 it’s also been used to prevent migraines. (Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why Botox works, though it may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.) Though the 36 injections I get every three months in my forehead, skull, neck, and shoulders are painful, they’ve been a game changer. I went from 16 to 18 migraines a month to about eight. The intensity of the pain has gone down, too. The results are so good that I find myself frustrated that I spent so many years in unnecessary misery.

Patients with diabetes mellitus treated with BOTOX® were more likely to develop urinary retention than nondiabetics. In clinical trials, 12.3% of patients (10/81) with diabetes developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0% of patients (0/69) treated with placebo. In patients without diabetes, 6.3% of patients (33/526) developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0.6% of patients (3/516) treated with placebo.
Children do very well after having this procedure in our clinic and are not upset when they leave. We rarely use sedation. We use distraction and a quick injection method instead. In rare cases, localization of a muscle may be needed using an electromyograph (EMG) machine or electric stimulator. If this is needed we will discuss this before scheduling the injections.
Botox takes three to five days to kick in, with the full effect becoming apparent within two weeks. Some people say they know when it’s taken effect because it suddenly feels like there’s duct tape on their forehead. “Botox will affect the way your facial muscles move, and it can feel funny when you can’t move your face to make a particular expression,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. “Also, sometimes injection of Botox in one area can affect another area—for example, injecting too low on the forehead to reduce wrinkles above the brows can actually end up lowering the brows, which is not always ideal. You may also experience a super-tight feeling in the beginning, before your body has time to adjust to the toxin.” These are the 50 things your surgeon won’t tell you.
Fine lines, frown lines, how-did-those-get-there lines. Whatever you call them, a few minutes of Botox can smooth wrinkles on your forehead, in-between your eyes, and crow’s feet. This is a non-invasive FDA-approved treatment that requires zero downtime, so you can come in and erase those signs of aging on your lunch break. Using a very fine needle we inject Botox intothe facial muscles responsible for those annoying wrinkles, totally relaxing them and reducing their ability to contract. Don’t worry, you’ll be out the door and on your way to feeling refreshed and radiating confidence in no time.
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