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.
The potency Units of BOTOX® 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.
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The procerus is a small triangular-shaped muscle that intermingles with the inferior aspect of the frontalis muscle. The muscle runs from the aponeurotic fascia on the nasal bones and inserts into the skin of the inferior forehead. The medial portion of the eyebrow and the skin of the lower forehead are drawn down by the procerus muscle, producing transverse wrinkle lines over the bridge of the nose.
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.

Treatment with botulinum toxins may weaken neck muscles that serve as accessory muscles of ventilation. This may result in a critical loss of breathing capacity in patients with respiratory disorders who may have become dependent upon these accessory muscles. There have been postmarketing reports of serious breathing difficulties, including respiratory failure.


Two years later, Allergan bought Oculinum for $9 million and changed the drug's name to Botox. At the time, Allergan was primarily an ocular-care company that sold products like contact-lens cleaners and prescription solutions for dry eyes, bringing in about $500 million in annual sales. Allergan says it saw Botox as a drug for a niche population: it's estimated that 4% of people in the U.S. have crossed eyes, for which the drug was initially approved, and Allergan made about $13 million in sales from the drug by the end of 1991.
In 1986, Scott's micromanufacturer and distributor of Botox was no longer able to supply the drug because of an inability to obtain product liability insurance. Patients became desperate, as supplies of Botox were gradually consumed, forcing him to abandon patients who would have been due for their next injection. For a period of four months, American blepharospasm patients had to arrange to have their injections performed by participating doctors at Canadian eye centers until the liability issues could be resolved.[48]
In some cases known as off-label use, doctors are safely administering it for conditions other than what it is officially approved for, including prostate issues, and eye-crossing (known medically as strabismus) cerebral palsy—which had my jaw on the floor. Rowe even went on to tell me it's the drug of the twenty-first century. "It's like Tylenol or aspirin," he marveled to SELF. "It's what penicillin was in the mid-twentieth century."
Three percent of patients experienced eyelid drooping in the frown lines studies, one percent of patients experienced eyelid swelling in the crow's feet studies, and one percent of patients experienced brow drooping in the forehead lines studies. Other possible side effects include: dry mouth; discomfort or pain at the injection site; tiredness; headache; neck pain; eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight and dry eyes; and allergic reactions. These are not all of the possible serious side effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic. Please see the Important Safety Information including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide and talk to your specialist.
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The most frequently reported adverse reactions following injection of BOTOX® for Chronic Migraine vs placebo include, respectively: neck pain (9% vs 3%), headache (5% vs 3%), eyelid ptosis (4% vs < 1%), migraine (4% vs 3%), muscular weakness (4% vs < 1%), musculoskeletal stiffness (4% vs 1%), bronchitis (3% vs 2%), injection-site pain (3% vs 2%), musculoskeletal pain (3% vs 1%), myalgia (3% vs 1%), facial paresis (2% vs 0%), hypertension (2% vs 1%), and muscle spasms (2% vs 1%).
Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) received FDA approval for treatment of chronic migraines on October 15, 2010. The toxin is injected into the head and neck to treat these chronic headaches. Approval followed evidence presented to the agency from two studies funded by Allergan showing a very slight improvement in incidence of chronic migraines for migraine sufferers undergoing the Botox treatment.[86][87]
The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s when it was discovered that BOTOX® could stop ailments such as blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using BOTOX® for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. BOTOX® is approved for treatment of frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and axillary hyperhidrosis (increased sweating of the armpits). Within the past few years, new products that have similar preparations have been introduced into the U.S. market and have been well-received by patients.
The potency Units of BOTOX® Cosmetic 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® Cosmetic cannot be compared to nor converted into units of any other botulinum toxin products assessed with any other specific assay method.

On November 23, 2015, Allergan and Pfizer announced their intention to merge in a $160 billion transaction, the largest pharmaceutical deal and the third largest merger in history.[19] On April 5, 2016, after the Obama administration announced its plan to ban tax inversions, Pfizer terminated the acquisition and paid Allergan a $150 million breakup fee.[20]

As with all therapeutic proteins, there is a potential for immunogenicity. The detection of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody (including neutralizing antibo dy) positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to onabotulinumtoxinA in the studies described below with the incidence of antibodies in other studies or to other products may be misleading.
I don’t know what’s harder, being a mom or living with migraine. Having both can be overwhelming. Over the years, as a stay-at-home mom of two and chronic migraine fighter, I have learned to adapt my life and my children’s lives to migraine. I alter my family’s schedule around my children’s naps, meals and moods, while also keeping in mind my migraine attacks, sensitivities, triggers and abilities.
It can also be expensive. Depending on your insurance, it can cost quite a lot of money — I've changed insurance providers since I first started, and my first provider was around $330 a month and charged me around $1,000 per Botox round (remember, that's four times a year). My new plan is much more expensive, around $600 a month, but the Botox copay is only $30 each time, so even if Botox is the only medical procedure I need to have done in the year, it made sense to switch.
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.
In my experience, this, like all other treatments we use in medicine, doesn’t benefit every patient. I find that it helps a majority of appropriate patients, that is, those patients with a diagnosis of chronic migraine who have failed not just abortive but also preventative migraine treatments. Is there sufficient benefit, however, to outweigh the cost and pain of this treatment? In the case of most of my patients, the answer is yes.
This site is intended for US consumers only. No information on this site is provided with the intention to give medical advice or instructions on the accurate use of Allergan products. Allergan cannot answer unsolicited emails requesting medical advice; visitors should always consult a healthcare professional. Please visit the Allergan site for your country of residence for information concerning Allergan products and services available there.

In 1820, Justinus Kerner, a small-town German medical officer and romantic poet, gave the first complete description of clinical botulism based on extensive clinical observations of so-called “sausage poisoning”.[37] Following experiments on animals and on himself, he concluded that the toxin acts by interrupting signal transmission in the somatic and autonomic motor systems, without affecting sensory signals or mental functions. He observed that the toxin develops under anaerobic conditions, and can be lethal in minute doses.[38] His prescience in suggesting that the toxin might be used therapeutically earned him recognition as the pioneer of modern botulinum toxin therapy.[39]

A placebo-controlled, double-blind post-approval 52 week study with BOTOX 100 Units (Study NDO-3) was conducted in non-catheterizing MS patients with urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition. Catheterization for urinary retention was initiated in 15.2% (10/66) of patients following treatment with BOTOX 100 Units versus 2.6% (2/78) on placebo at any time during the complete treatment cycle. The median duration of post-injection catheterization for those who developed urinary retention was 64 days for BOTOX 100 Units and 2 days for placebo.
"I have treated people with profound migraine headaches and it turns them right off," says Dr. Matarasso. "If you feel it coming on, it stops it, reducing the severity as well as the duration. I had a patient [who was] in college who had unremitting migraine headaches. She changed her diet, she changed her birth-control pill, she had acupuncture. I finally said to the mother, 'We need to try Botox,' and it has been a complete life-changing event for this woman."
When asked how often he turns people away, Dr. Matarasso says: “I turned someone away today. I had a gentleman come in, he was an appropriate candidate anatomically, he had some deep lines in his forehead, but his expectations were unrealistic. He wanted every line erased, and I said, ‘No, you are going to look a little mask-like.’ I gave him a brochure and said, 'Go home and think about it.'”
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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