Andrew M. Blumenfeld is director of The Headache Center of Southern California. Most of his research has focused on the use of OnabotulinumtoxinA in the treatment of chronic migraine. He helped develop the injection paradigm approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and has taught providers around the world on practical aspects of this treatment option.
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I’ve been getting injections for migraine and cervical dystonia for a couple of years. Thank GAWD for Medicaid to cover it. I went 2 days ago for my 12 week appt. The relief was instantaneous. I’ve been under an immense amount of stress due to losing my only child 5 months ago. I’m still alive and virtually headache free. Botulism…who knew?! But…THANK YOU♡
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.
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Dosing in initial and sequential treatment sessions should be tailored to the individual patient based on the patient’s head and neck position, localization of pain, muscle hypertrophy, patient response, and adverse event history. The initial dose for a patie nt without prior use of BOTOX should be at a lower dose, with subsequent dosing adjusted based on individual response. Limiting the total dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle to 100 Units or less may decrease the occurrence of dysphagia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
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.
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If you experience migraine symptoms on 15 or more days each month, you have chronic migraines. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help ease some of your symptoms, but some patients don’t respond well to pain relievers. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe preventive medicines, which are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. According to research published in the journal Neurology, only about one-third of patients with chronic migraines take preventive medicines.
The cost of Botox injections varies widely, with most clinics in the United States charging between $9 and $20 per unit. The variation in cost can be influenced by a number of factors, including the location of the clinic or medspa, and the reputation and expertise of the injector. For example, board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in administering Botox and dermal fillers are likely to charge more because they generally guarantee better results. That is not to say, however, that injectors charging $10 per unit aren’t capable of delivering excellent results as well, but there is far less risk of any complications arising when you choose an injector who has been board-certified. It is always the smartest, safest way to proceed with any cosmetic enhancement.

If you undergo Botox treatments for migraines, your doctor will typically administer them once every three months. Depending on your response to Botox, your doctor will recommend a length of time for your treatment plan. Each session will last between 10 and 15 minutes. During the sessions, your doctor will inject multiple doses of the medicine into specific points along the bridge of your nose, your temples, your forehead, the back of your head, your neck, and your upper back.
Though there's still more research to be done on Botox for migraines and doctors aren't yet completely sure why the procedure is effective, they have some ideas. Ravitz tells me, "What [Botox] does is paralyze nerve terminals. Essentially, nerve terminals transmit pain, but they also produce pain substances while they’re doing that, and it completely paralyzes that process." She says that it stops the process of pain patterning and it also relaxes the muscles.
Botox is so commonplace these days that you can get it done at some gyms and spas, but in these cases, you never know what you’re getting, how old the product is, with what it's mixed, and whether the injector knows what he or she is doing. Dr. Matarasso suggests only getting it done by what he calls the “core four”: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
Forehead – The horizontal lines and furrows on your forehead will not magically disappear. Which is why you should consider getting a Botox injection before they start to set in permanently. These lines will become more excessive with age, and will age to your appearance.Over time by repeatedly injecting these lines the deeply etched lines will become progressively improved
Twenty two adult patients, enrolled in double-blind placebo controlled studies, received 400 Units or higher of BOTOX for treatment of upper limb spasticity. In addition, 44 adults received 400 Units of BOTOX or higher for four consecutive treatments over approximately one year for treatment of upper limb spasticity. The type and frequency of ad verse reactions observed in patients treated with 400 Units of BOTOX were similar to those reported in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with 360 Units of BOTOX.
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.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide found all over the body, says Dr. Amaal Starling, an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. This neuropeptide attaches to a receptor called a CGRP receptor. CGRP and its receptor are involved in numerous bodily processes—from gastrointestinal movement to the transmission of pain. Over the past few decades, there has been increasing evidence that CGRP plays a role in both migraine and cluster headache. During a migraine attack, researchers have found increased levels of CGRP in patients’ blood and saliva. They discovered migraine medications like sumatriptan reduced levels of CGRP in patients living with migraine. They also found that patients with chronic migraine—meaning 15 or more migraine days per month, eight of which either meet criteria for migraine or are treated with migraine-specific medication—had chronically elevated levels of CGRP. In addition, recent research found that giving a patient with migraine an infusion of CGRP would lead to a migraine-like attack. “All of these studies led to the hypothesis that CGRP and its receptor play a key role in migraine, as well as in cluster headache,” Dr. Starling says.
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”
This is where Botox comes into play. When you get consistent Botox injections, you prevent potential wrinkle formations from getting deeper or worse. Botox limits the range of facial muscle movement (when done skillfully, your face will not get that frozen look) so that wrinkles don't worsen over time. If you have a bad habit of frowning or lifting your brows for no reason, consistent Botox injections can also help your face kick these bad habits and therefore prevent any potential lines from getting etched in your skin. Getting frequent Botox injections may also help relax your facial muscles so that you don't need as a high a dose or as frequent as an injection to maintain your results.

Intradetrusor injection of BOTOX® is contraindicated in patients with overactive bladder or detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition who have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Intradetrusor injection of BOTOX® is also contraindicated in patients with urinary retention and in patients with post-void residual (PVR) urine volume > 200 mL, who are not routinely performing clean intermittent self-catheterization (CIC).
In the third study, 25 patients with chronic migraine were injected with 12.5 doses of botox into each trigger point twice, during a period of 3 months. Frequency (main variable), intensity and scales of migraine crises were recorded one month before and one month after the treatment to compare the changes experienced. In addition, side effects were also recorded during the experiment, and they were found to be mild and temporary.
In cosmetic applications, botulinum toxin is considered safe and effective for reduction of facial wrinkles, especially in the uppermost third of the face.[23] Injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles under facial wrinkles causes relaxation of those muscles, resulting in the smoothing of the overlying skin.[23] Smoothing of wrinkles is usually visible three days after treatment and is maximally visible two weeks following injection.[23] The treated muscles gradually regain function, and generally return to their former appearance three to four months after treatment.[23] Muscles can be treated repeatedly to maintain the smoothed appearance.[23]

“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 following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of BOTOX. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These reactions include: abdominal pain; alopecia, including madarosis; anorexia; brachial plexopathy; denervation/muscle atrophy; diarrhea; hyperhidrosis; hypoacusis; hypoaesthesia; malaise; paresthesia; peripheral neuropathy; radiculopathy; erythema multiforme, dermatitis psoriasiform, and psoriasiform eruption; strabismus; tinnitus; and visual disturbances.
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.”
In the mid-1990s, people who received BOTOX for other conditions reported improvement in their chronic migraine pain. A two-phase study was conducted, treating patients who averaged 20 headache days a month. They received BOTOX injections every twelve weeks for 56 weeks. At the end of that period, 70% of the patients had fewer than half the number of headaches they had before treatment. The FDA officially approved BOTOX to treat chronic migraine in October of 2010. Since then, more than 100,000 patients have been treated.
Recently, there have been concerns about retrograde botulinum toxin transmission, meaning that the toxin could travel back to the central nervous system, causing long-term damage. Studies done in Italy by Flavia Antonucci have been mainly on a raw form of the toxin and not any of the commercially available preparations. Additionally, these studies have been performed on animals and with the injection of the toxin to one area and in a concentration of nearly 150 times greater than normal injections for cosmetic indications, which are spread over multiple sites.
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]

There are eight types of botulinum toxin, named type A–H. Types A and B are capable of causing disease in humans, and are also used commercially and medically.[3] Types C–G are less common; types E and F can cause disease in humans, while the other types cause disease in other animals.[4] Type H is considered the deadliest substance in the world – an injection of only 2 ng can cause death to an adult.[5] Botulinum toxin types A and B are used in medicine to treat various muscle spasms and diseases characterized by overactive muscle. Commercial forms are marketed under the brand names Botox and Dysport, among others.[6][7]

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