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."
The safety and efficacy of onabotulinumtoxinA for CM was demonstrated in the pivotal phase III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) trial. In this trial, patients were treated every 12 weeks whether or not their headaches had returned to baseline levels and the primary outcome period was after two treatment cycles. At baseline, these patients had more than 19 headache days, and after two treatment cycles, their headaches had been reduced by 8 to 9 days per 28 days. The responder rate analysis of the study population shows that about 25% of patients improved by 75% in terms of a reduction of migraine days. In my practice, I usually do three cycles 12 weeks apart, and only if there is no change in headache frequency after this, do I change treatments. In the pivotal trials, the first statistical separation from placebo occurred in the first 4 weeks. There is a small subgroup of patients who fail to respond to the first two treatments and only start to respond after the third treatment.4-10
Each patient has their own goals for treatment of muscle spasticity made in our clinic. These goals can include decreasing pain from muscle spasms. This can be done by reducing both how often and how intense the spasms are. It can also be done by increasing the range of motion of joints to allow improved function. Improvement of range of motion can help to:
Study 4 included 170 patients (87 BOTOX and 83 placebo) with upper limb spasticity who were at least 6 months post-stroke. In Study 4, patients received 20 Units of BOTOX into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus (total BOTOX dose =40 Units in thumb muscles) or placebo (see Table 30). Study 5 included 109 patients with upper limb spasticity who were at least 6 months post-stroke. In Study 5, patients received 15 Units (low dose) or 20 Units (high dose) of BOTOX into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus under EMG guidance (total BOTOX low dose =30 Units, total BOTOX high dose =40 Units), or placebo (see Table 30). The duration of follow-up in Study 4 and Study 5 was 12 weeks.

Exploratory analyses of this study suggested that the majority of patients who had shown a beneficial response by week 6 had returned to their baseline status by 3 months after treatment. Exploratory analyses of subsets by patient sex and age suggest that both sexes receive benefit, although female patients may receive somewhat greater amounts than male patients. There is a consistent trea tmentassociated effect between subsets greater than and less than age 65. There were too few non-Caucasian patients enrolled to draw any conclusions regarding relative efficacy in racial subsets.
Botox is administered by injection and dosing depends on the condition that it is used for. Administration of botulinum toxin with other agents (for example, aminoglycosides, curare) that affect neuromuscular function may increase the effect of botulinum toxin. There are no adequate studies of Botox in pregnant women and it has not been evaluated in nursing mothers.
I’ve had migraines since I was 12, but in 2015 my attacks got much worse. Without migraine-specific painkillers, my migraines make me queasy and tired, forcing me to go to bed with a freezing wet towel on my head. For the last two years, I’ve tried different medications, switched birth control pills, made lifestyle changes (less stress, more swimming, no alcohol) — to little avail. My migraines would improve for a while, but then they came back, worse than ever. Then this year, I finally discovered a treatment that works — Botox.

Botox is a brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are other brand names for botulinum, such as Xeomin. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoning. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles causing controlled weakening of the muscles.


In rare cases, Botox toxin can spread to areas beyond the injection site. If this happens, you may experience muscle weakness, vision changes, difficulty swallowing, and drooping eyelids. To reduce your risk of serious side effects and complications, always make sure Botox is prescribed and administered by a trained healthcare professional who has experience in using Botox.
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Botox, or onabotulinumtoxinA, is used for three main purposes: muscle spasm control, severe underarm sweating and cosmetic improvement. In this article we concentrate on the third use, achieved with the product called Botox Cosmetic, which contains botulinum toxin type A (the active ingredient), human albumin (a protein found in human blood plasma) and sodium chloride.

Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic 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.


Beware of Botox injections at a "Botox party" at someone's house. You need to be in a medical setting, where any side effects can be treated immediately. You may not see the final effects of the injections during the party anyway, as they usually take a few days. A Botox party isn't such a bad idea if it's held by a doctor in a medical setting, but even then there's a risk of the doctor's attention being divided between you and the other attendees.


I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
The last thing I've found to be a little frustrating is that my body tends to metabolize the Botox a bit faster than I can get it. While Ravitz tells me I can't get the treatment any more frequently than every three months, because that's the rate at which the body can develop antibodies against it, I find my migraines amping up in frequency again about two to two and a half months after I get the shots. However, given the fact that with the Botox, my migraines have gone down from about four a week to one or two at most, it's absolutely increased my quality of life, and I'm glad I gave it a shot...or 40.
With small children, I find that being prepared allows us to function better.  My family food preps for the week with fruits, veggies and snack-size portions. I keep the snacks on a shelf that my children can easily reach, so they can choose a healthy option if they’re hungry and I’m unable to get up. Meals are well-thought-out and prepared ahead of time, in case of a migraine attack. I always have a back-up plan for my children. I have alternative arrangements for them after school if I am unable to care for them or myself. I also have activities planned. I keep crafts around that occupy my children’s time but also keep sound and stress to a minimum. We color, build Legos and play with Play-Doh all while sitting in rooms with strategically placed lights and brightness. I save screen time for when I need a few moments of quiet. We keep a routine and schedule, but also stay flexible. A schedule allows my family to know what to expect for our days and evenings. My children are able to continue their day if I have a migraine attack because they know what needs to be done and in what order. We have strict bedtimes that allow my children’s brains to grow and mine to recover. Along with this, I have taught them that moms don’t always feel well, and we may need to adjust the schedule from time to time to accommodate my migraine. I keep medication that can fight a migraine attack with me for use on the go and safely at home. I see a neurologist on a regular basis who helps me manage my migraine symptoms and medication.
Beware of Botox injections at a "Botox party" at someone's house. You need to be in a medical setting, where any side effects can be treated immediately. You may not see the final effects of the injections during the party anyway, as they usually take a few days. A Botox party isn't such a bad idea if it's held by a doctor in a medical setting, but even then there's a risk of the doctor's attention being divided between you and the other attendees.

Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or neuromuscular junction disorders (eg, myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome) should be monitored when given botulinum toxin. Patients with neuromuscular disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant effects including generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphonia, dysarthria, severe dysphagia, and respiratory compromise from onabotulinumtoxinA (see Warnings and Precautions).
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).
A recent encounter with one of my headache patients got me thinking. I am treating this young woman for chronic migraine with BOTOX injections. She told me that one of her other physicians had been surprised to hear about this use for onabotulinumtoxin A. According to my patient, the gastroenterologist’s words were, “BOTOX for migraines? I’ve never heard of that.” 
I would caution against shopping around for cheap Botox. There are practitioners than offer bargain prices that are not sustainable from a business standpoint. They may be diluting their Botox or injecting less units than advertised.  Also, some practitioners charge less per unit of Botox but inject significantly more Botox than is required to achieve the optimal outcome. For instance, 60 units of Botox at $10/unit is more expensive than 45 well placed units at $12/unit. 
Botox® neurotoxin treatment helps control the symptoms of severe underarm sweating when topical medicines do not work well enough by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. When the sweat glands don’t receive chemical signals, the severe sweating stops. Botox® injections are expected to temporarily stop the production of excessive sweat in the treated areas only. Sweat continues to be produced elsewhere.
The safety and effectiveness for the treatment of anatomic regions other than the mid-face with JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC; facial wrinkles and folds with JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC, JUVÉDERM® Ultra Plus XC, and JUVÉDERM VOLLURE™ XC; and the lips and perioral area with JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC and JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA® XC have not been established in controlled clinical studies
It’s not just about Botox, though. Last month, the FDA approved the first migraine-specific drug to prevent the severe headaches. Called Aimovig, the injectable med will cost $6,900 a year, according to The New York Times, plus injection fees. Because of the high costs, experts expect the new drug to be subject to step therapy policies. Stephen Silberstein, the director of the headache center at Jefferson University, told me in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance companies required patients to even try and fail Botox before covering the new meds (there are a few of them under development).

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.
Of 1242 overactive bladder patients in placebo-controlled clinical studies of BOTOX, 41.4% (n=514) were 65 years of age or older, and 14.7% (n=182) were 75 years of age or older. Adverse reactions of UTI and urinary retention were more common in patients 65 years of age or older in both placebo and BOTOX groups compared to younger patients (see Table 18). Otherwise, there were no overall differences in the safety profile following BOTOX treatment between patients aged 65 years and older compared to youn ger patients in these studies.
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.

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