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.
Most insurance providers now cover the expense of Botox injections when they’re used to treat chronic migraines. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance won’t cover the cost of the procedure, it may cost you several thousand dollars. Before you begin receiving injections, talk to your insurance company. In some cases, they may require you to undergo other procedures or tests before they will cover the costs of Botox treatments.
The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted. Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.
In May, hedge fund Appaloosa Management, run by David Tepper, received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to potentially increase its stake in the Botox-maker. This means that Appaloosa now has more flexibility to push for further changes at Allergan. It remains to be seen if that happens, but if so, it could mean more changes are ahead for the drugmaker.
The one side effect that we most commonly see with Botox for migraine, ironically, is increased headache pain in the days immediately following the injections. Interestingly, some patients have the opposite effect, noticing immediate pain relief. That may be due to an acupuncture-like response, where poking needles into unhappy muscles actually makes them feel better.
As compared to standard-size injections, Baby Botox lowers the risk of your features appearing to be frozen. Take the forehead, for example: "The risk is that you weaken your frontalis muscle, which causes your eyebrows to drop," Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. "If you're getting micro doses of Botox, that's a lot less likely to happen."
On average, each BOTOX treatment requires 32 injections, though individual patients may require fewer or more. You’ll receive injections every twelve weeks, and each session only takes a few minutes. BOTOX begins to work as soon as it’s injected, and you should see full results within a week of your first injections. Most patients who benefit from BOTOX treatments receive five rounds of injections over 15 months. BOTOX is injected using a very fine needle. Most patients describe it as feeling like a tiny pinprick.
That said, there are a few things I'd make sure everyone knows before trying it. For one thing, it can be pretty painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but getting 30 to 40 shots every three months is pretty rough — it feels a bit like getting tattooed with a bee's stinger, but once the needle is out of your skin, the pain goes away, and if it works for you, it's worth it. It's also important to know that it can take some time to work. The first treatment barely worked at all for me, and the second round took a few weeks. If you're going to try it out, be patient.
Botulinum toxin exerts its effect by cleaving key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerves which use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Once bound to the nerve terminal, the neuron takes up the toxin into a vesicle. As the vesicle moves farther into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin which triggers it to push across the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm. Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.
In 1986, Oculinum Inc, Scott's micromanufacturer and distributor of botulinum toxin, was unable to obtain product liability insurance, and could no longer supply the drug. As supplies became exhausted, patients who had come to rely on periodic injections became desperate. For 4 months, as liability issues were resolved, American blepharospasm patients traveled to Canadian eye centers for their injections.