Botox for migraines has been something that has flown under the radar, as many people know Botox as a procedure simply aimed at hiding fine lines. We turned to Matthew S. Robbins, MD, director of inpatient services at Montefiore Headache Center and the chief of neurology at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital, Montefiore, to break down the procedure for us. Scroll down to see what he has to say.
I increase the dose at each treatment cycle to 195 units. This is based on experience with patients with cervical dystonia, in whom higher doses result in a longer duration of effect. In addition, I transition to the next onabotulinumtoxinA treatment at 12 weeks by using occipital and trigeminal nerve blocks at 10 weeks. Most insurance companies will not cover onabotulinumtoxinA treatments earlier than 12 weeks, but in rare cases, 10-week cycles have been approved.
Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Botox comes as a crystalline substance from the manufacturer, which then has to be reconstituted with saline or another liquid. Practitioners add varying amounts of liquid when reconstituting it. Although there is no right or wrong amount of liquid to add, most physicians add about 2 mL-3 mL (about a half a teaspoon) of liquid to each vial. Some add quite a bit more, which can lead patients to think they are getting more Botox when, in reality, they are getting the same or less amount of Botox than samples reconstituted in a stronger way. It is the total dose of medication, not the volume of liquid, that leads to the desired effect.
So what exactly are you putting into your face? John Paul Tutela, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, explains, “Botox is a cosmetic injectable neurotoxin that is a very diluted form of Botulinum Toxin, which is found in the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In this diluted format, it is used to relax your muscles—typically in your forehead, in between your eyebrows, and around your eyes.” The idea is that if you temporarily block local nerve impulses to specific muscles within your face, you won’t make certain facial expressions, so you won’t form the wrinkles that come with them, explains dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD. These are the 7 signs you’re ready for Botox? (And 6 signs you aren’t.)
Therefore, it is important to remember that if a clinic or medical spa states that they are providing Botox at a certain dollar amount per unit, it is quite possible that they are diluting the Botox and actually not providing the agreed-upon amount. This is much like the concept of a watered-down drink at a bar, but the costs are much larger when it comes to Botox or its alternatives, Dysport and Xeomin.
I was lucky. My health insurance only required me to try and fail two other less expensive migraine medications, and it didn’t dictate how long I had to try them for before giving up. Other insurers have stricter rules: Aetna, for example, requires patients to try at least three medications for at least two months each. HealthPartners also requires patients to try and fail three medications, such as beta blockers and antidepressants, without specifying for how long. (Requirements may vary by state and policy.) Because these migraine drugs are designed to treat other conditions like high blood pressure and depression, they can have serious side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly.
The 3rd Annual Migraine Moment Film Contest received a record-breaking number of film submissions this year. Each film delivered a unique message on living with migraine and how people cope with the symptoms that accompany this debilitating disease. At the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco earlier this year, Maria Galli was announced as the contest’s winner. Her powerful film, Invisible Hero, spoke to her strength and superhero-like qualities in fighting a disease that oftentimes makes her feel isolated and alone. In a recent Facebook Live hosted by the American Foundation, Maria Galli spoke with Dr. Bert Vargas, a Neurologist at UT Southwestern, about her experience living with chronic migraine and her outstanding work. [embed]https://www.facebook.com/americanmigrainefoundation/videos/1616373701807260/[/embed]

The idea of a needle going toward your forehead, in between your eyes, or at your eyebrows might be a little daunting, but rest assured, not only is Botox FDA-approved, but it’s a very common (and highly-requested) procedure. It’s commonly used for cosmetic reasons, but it also helps alleviate a slew of other health concerns.”Botox was first approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat blepharospasm of the eyelid, and now can treat hundreds of medical conditions, such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or chronic migraines,” dermatologist Jill S. Waibel, MD. She also notes that it was only approved for cosmetic purposes in 2002. “Since then, millions of people have had Botox done safely and effectively. It is important to remember that Botox is safest when used by a board certified dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.”
Serious and/or immediate hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. These reactions include anaphylaxis, serum sickness, urticaria, soft-tissue edema, and dyspnea. If such reactions occur, further injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic should be discontinued and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted. One fatal case of anaphylaxis has been reported in which lidocaine was used as the diluent and, consequently, the causal agent cannot be reliably determined.
Some industry insiders say it's not unusual, if still legally murky, for drug-company representatives and doctors to share information with one another about the different ways an approved drug may be used. If a doctor notices that, say, a treatment for crossed eyes also "takes the lines out," he may mention it to the representative from whom he buys the drugs. That rep may share that with another of his clients, and so on.
The overall cost of  the injection is charged either at a flat rate or per unit. In terms of per unit, the overall cost of the treatment will depend on the total volume or a total number of units used in the procedure. But service charged at a flat rate depends on the area to be treated. The most expensive area is around the underarm for treating hyperhidrosis.
Unopened vials of BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C) for up to 36 months. Do not use after the expiration d ate on the vial. Administer BOTOX within 24 hours of reconstitution; during this period reconstituted BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C). Reconstituted BOTOX should be clear, colorless, and free of particulate matter.
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A BOTOX “treatment” consists of 31 injections to the head and neck areas, if adherence to the FDA approved protocol is followed. Except for injection into the procerus, which is in the midline, all others are paired sets of injections on the left and right sides. Muscles included are the frontalis and temporalis areas as well as the occipitalis, upper cervical paraspinals, and trapezii. The amount injected at each of the 31 injection sites is small—5 units of BOTOX in a volume of 0.1 mL normal saline or sterile water. A total of 155 units is are typically used.
On July 7, 2015, the company acquired the rights to the late stage CGRP migraine portfolio of Merck & Co, as well as two experimental drugs (MK-1602 and MK-8031) for an upfront payment of $250 million.[12] On August 10, the company acquired Oculeve for $125 million.[13] On August 31, the company acquired Naurex for an upfront payment of $560 million.[14] On October 19, the company acquired AqueSys, developer of ocular implants that reduce intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, for an initial payment of $300 million.[15] On October 1, the company acquired Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, a company focused on the medical aesthetics market, for $2.1 billion.[16] On November 4 the company announced the acquisition of Northwood Medical Innovation, developer of earFold, a medical device to correct protruding ears.[17] On November 25, 2015, the company announced it would partner with Rugen Therapeutic to develop new therapies for autism spectrum disorder, rabies and obsessive compulsive disorder.[18]
The primary efficacy variable was wrist flexors muscle tone at week 6, as measured by the Ashworth score. The Ashworth Scale is a 5-point scale with grades of 0 [no increase in muscle tone] to 4 [limb rigid in flexion or extension]. It is a clinical measure of the force required to move an extremity around a joint, with a reduction in score clinically representing a reduction in the force need ed to move a joint (i.e., improvement in spasticity).

When women in their 20's first consider getting Botox, prevention is often the primary factor, since the early signs of aging—such as crow's feet, forehead wrinkles, and fine lines—are beginning to show. "Lines get deeper and deeper with age," explains Wexler. "If you start [getting Botox] early enough and it's done properly, you're not going to need [as much] in the future." For younger patients wary of the frozen look—remember, youthful faces move—Wexler likes to employ lower doses of Botox via ultra-targeted micro injections administered on specific areas of the face such as the forehead, brows, or around the eyes.


CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
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The incidence of UTI increased in patients who experienced a maximum post-void residual (PVR) urine volume ≥200 mL following BOTOX injection compared to those with a maximum PVR <200 mL following BOTOX injection, 44% versus 23%, respectively. No change was observed in the overall safety profile with repeat dosing during an open-label, uncontrolled extension trial.
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).

As anyone who’s tried Botox for Migraine (or wrinkle reduction) will tell you, your forehead feels heavier after the injections are done, where the nerve endings are in essence frozen. As in ‘Frozen Face.’  Little to no movement, depending on how many units you receive and where they are injected. In my case, my usually expressive face didn’t track with my emotions: no raised eyebrows of surprise or delight or shock.
Botox lasts only around three months (or more when you first start getting injections), so get ready to go in for maintenance every three to six months. Because it’s only meant to temporarily relax your muscles, it wears off over time, and you’ll notice your wrinkle start to appear again. “As skin ages, the skin loses elasticity and collagen breaks down, so constant muscle and skin contraction can create more permanent creases (wrinkles). Within a few months of injecting the botox, the body makes new acetylcholine receptors, and the nerves are able to conduct their impulses again,” Dr. Shainhouse explains. “You must use neurotoxins continuously in order to reduce muscle movement and prevent long-term skin creasing.” Find out more secrets from dermatologists about how to prevent and treat wrinkles.

That Groupon offer might be tempting, but Dr. Tutela recommends doing a thorough vetting of your practitioner’s history and methods before signing up for treatment. “I think it is important to ask any provider if they perform that procedure frequently, to gauge their experience,” he says. He also suggests to ask if they’ve experienced any major complications and to check their online reviews. “You can get a sense of how you will be treated and what kind of experience other patients have had,” Dr. Tutela says. “Many of those low-cost, high-volume practices are loaded with horrible reviews from disappointed patients.”


In 2016, the stock price of Tobira Pharmaceuticals stumbled on the release of the top-line data of the Phase 2b CENTAUR study of CVC therapy in NASH because the clinical trial missed its primary clinical outcome of improvement in NASH resolution without worsening of liver fibrosis. However, CVC therapy achieved its secondary clinical outcome of improvement in liver fibrosis without worsening of NASH resolution. The clinical efficacy of CVC on NASH liver fibrosis is currently being further researched in the ongoing Phase 3 AURORA clinical trial.
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According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, a total of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected into each corrugator muscle. To confirm the location of the muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow in order to activate the corrugator. Once the muscle has been located, the muscle should be palpated and pinched by holding it between the thumb and index finger. Five units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected at an approximate 90° angle with the bevel of the needle pointing upward into the medial belly of the muscle. As the needle is inserted, there is skin resistance, which lessens when the muscle is penetrated. This decrease in resistance is termed a muscle pop. Once the muscle pop occurs, inject into the superficial muscle. If the injection is too far superior or above the corrugator muscle, brow ptosis can occur due to depression of the medial brow as the frontalis elevating function is lost and the corrugator depressing function remains unopposed. Whereas weakening the corrugator muscle will cause elevation of the medial eyebrow, alternatively, if the corrugator injection is done too low, then diffusion to the levator palpebral muscle could lead to lid ptosis.
Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These may include asthenia, generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence, and breathing difficulties. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening, and there have been reports of death. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity, but symptoms can also occur in adults treated for spasticity and other conditions, particularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms. In unapproved uses, including spasticity in children, and in approved indications, cases of spread of effect have been reported at doses comparable to those used to treat Cervical Dystonia and spasticity and at lower doses.

Many times, effects on spasticity are longer lasting. It is not clear if this is due to breaking down patterned movements (many muscles contracting together rather than singly) or from allowing weak muscles to get stronger over time (that were overpowered before by more spastic muscles pulling against them). It is vital to have close follow-up after the injections to figure out the best course of treatment.

The FDA approval was based on a large study showing that Botox significantly reduced migraine frequency and severity, as well as headache-related disability, compared to placebo. As just one measure of its effectiveness, many of my patients report that they’ve cut their use of rescue medications in half since starting Botox – a significant benefit for people who previously had to resort to rescue medications 15 or more times every month.


Botox should only be injected with sterile instruments in a doctor's office or a medical spa — not at Botox parties at your local nail salon or neighbor's living room. Botox injection is usually performed with some local anesthesia or a numbing cream. You may feel some minimal discomfort from the shot, but today's needles are so thin and fine that the procedure is often painless. Depending on the extent of treatment, the procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes.
The initial listed doses of the reconstituted BOTOX [see Preparation And Dilution Technique] typically create paralysis of the injected muscles beginning one to two days after injection and increasing in intensity during the first week. The paralysis lasts for 2-6 weeks and gradually resolves over a similar time period. Overcorrections lasting over six months have been rare. About one half of patients will require subsequent doses because of inadequate paralytic response of the muscle to the initial dose, or because of mechanical factors such as large deviations or restrictions, or because of the lack of binocular motor fusion to stabilize the alignment .

Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups or for the treatment of spasticity in pediatric patients under age 18 years. BOTOX® has not been shown to improve upper extremity functional abilities, or range of motion at a joint affected by a fixed contracture. Treatment with BOTOX® is not intended to substitute for usual standard of care rehabilitation regimens.

Significant improvements compared to placebo in the primary efficacy variable of change from baseline in daily frequency of incontinence episodes were observed for BOTOX® (100 Units) at the primary efficacy time point at week 6. Increases in maximum cystometric capacity and reductions in maximum detrusor pressure during the first involuntary detrusor contraction were also observed. These primary and secondary endpoints are shown in Table 23.


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.
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