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.
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.”
Botox was introduced to the world in the late 1980s by ophthalmologists, who began using it to treat optic muscle disorders. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in 2002, and its popularity has soared ever since. Botox is consistently one of the top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed each year.

Laser tattoo removal has minimal side effects. Lasers break up the pigment of the tattoo with a high-intensity light beam. During the procedure, the patient wears protective eye shields and may be giving anesthesia. The pulse of the laser feels like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Possible side effects include a risk of infection, hypopigmentation, and hyperpigmentation.


Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known to man. Scientists have estimated that a single gram could kill as many as 1 million people and a couple of kilograms could kill every human on earth. In high concentrations, botulinum toxin can result in botulism, a severe, life-threatening illness. Botulism, left untreated, may result in respiratory failure and death. Despite botulinum toxin being so toxic, Botox is in huge demand.
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.”
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]

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.
Botox (also known as Vistabel outside the U.S. and the U.K.) is an injection that temporarily relaxes facial muscles to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as prevent new lines from forming. Common injection sites include the forehead, the area between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, and the sides of the chin. Botox can also be used for a wide variety of other conditions, including migraines, excessive sweating, and psoriasis. LEARN MORE ›
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).
Note: Online coupons or deals for Botox are not recommended because you would be purchasing a medical treatment without knowing if the treatment would be suitable for your skin issues. What you think Botox will fix may not actually be the case, so don't buy something unless you know you are a good candidate for the treatment. It's better to get a Botox consultation first.
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.
Even if Botox's mechanism isn't always well understood and some of its off-label uses are still unproven, interest in the drug isn't likely to wane. "Botox is a big cash cow for the physicians' practices," says Ronny Gal, an investment analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein who has watched the drug closely for more than a decade. "When I talk to physicians, they say, 'Botox is not a problem. It works and gives you the result you want.' If it works for depression and atrial fibrillation, it could be massive."

Laser tattoo removal has minimal side effects. Lasers break up the pigment of the tattoo with a high-intensity light beam. During the procedure, the patient wears protective eye shields and may be giving anesthesia. The pulse of the laser feels like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Possible side effects include a risk of infection, hypopigmentation, and hyperpigmentation.

Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.” Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary. Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.
Robert Anolik, a board-certified, cosmetic dermatologist explains, "The cost for these types of treatments is widely variable, as every patient needs different amounts and in different areas. It could be a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. For example, a patient may have deepened nasolabial folds (smile lines) requiring multiple syringes of Restylane Defyne. Or a patient could need a subtle lift with a small amount of Restylane-Lyft in the cheeks and mid-face. I find many of my patients will come in consistently for Dysport (Dysport spreads out a bit more, so you're able to get a better global balancing, whereas Botox has a little more of an isolated effect) every three to four months on average, and then we will review what might be needed among the fillers. Often more syringes of filler may be needed at first and then we can maintain over time."

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.
In a study to evaluate inadvertent peribladder administration, bladder stones were observed in 1 of 4 mal e monkeys that were injected with a total of 6.8 Units/kg divided into the prostatic urethra and proximal rectum (single administration). No bladder stones were observed in male or female monkeys following injection of up to 36 Units/kg (~12X the highest human bladder dose) directly to the bladder as either single or 4 repeat dose injections or in female rats for single injections up to 100 Units/kg (~33X the highest human bladder dose).

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Botox has not been approved for any pediatric use.[30] It has, however, been used off-label by physicians for several conditions. including spastic conditions in pediatric patients with cerebral palsy, a therapeutic course that has resulted in patient deaths.[30] In the case of treatment of infantile esotropia in patients younger than 12 years of age, several studies have yielded differing results.[21][better source needed]
My patients who do respond say that it is absolutely worth it. For people who can’t get their headaches under control with the usual medications, or who suffer from problematic side effects from those drugs, Botox can be a great option. For many of my patients, it has reduced their medication needs and restored their ability to function in their jobs and families.
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
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]

Botox can be bought by essentially any person with a DEA certificate. Allergan sells it in 50 and 100 unit vials. They are shipped overnight delivery on dry ice to keep the toxin effective it should be opened, reconstituted and used the same day ideally. The Botox will work best this way. Price points will change by who the injector is and what their motives are. Botox can be reconstituted so that you getting a very dilute amount of product. So a by the area approach may really only give you a small amount of product. Or you could be getting old Botox that is a week old and will not last for very long.
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).
When pregnant rats received single intramuscular injections (1, 4, or 16 Units/kg) at three different periods of development (prior to implantation, implantation, or organogenesis), no adverse effects on fetal develop ment were observed. The developmental no-effect level for a single maternal dose in rats (16 Units/kg) is approximately 2 times the human dose of 400 Units, based on Units/k g.
The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 20 injections of 0.5 mL each (total volume of 10 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal saline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, patients shou ld demonstrate their ability to void prior to leaving the clinic. The patient should be obser ved for at least 30 minutes post-injection and until a spontaneous void has occurred.
Study 1 included 126 patients (64 BOTOX and 62 placebo) with upper limb spasticity (Ashworth score of at least 3 for wrist flexor tone and at least 2 for finger flexor tone) who were at least 6 months post -stroke. BOTOX (a total dose of 200 Units to 240 Units) and placebo were injected intramuscularly (IM) into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digito rum sublimis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and if necessary into the adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus (see Table 25). Use of an EMG/nerve stimulator was recommended to assist in proper muscle localization for injection. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
But in a recent Fat Mascara podcast, NYC dermatologist Pat Wexler, MD, said this is a myth. And Dr. Matarasso falls somewhere in-between. “For aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, does a 19-year-old need this? No. Does a 26-year-old need this for aesthetic purposes? Highly doubtful. But, hey, listen, if you are like, ‘I am looking at my parents, I am looking at my genes, and I want to stay proactive,’ it is not unreasonable to introduce it in small amounts.”
Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.” Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary. Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.
Co-administration of BOTOX® or other agents interfering with neuromuscular transmission (eg, aminoglycosides, curare-like compounds) should only be performed with caution as the effect of the toxin may be potentiated. Use of anticholinergic drugs after administration of BOTOX® may potentiate systemic anticholinergic effects. The effect of administering different botulinum neurotoxin products at the same time or within several months of each other is unknown. Excessive neuromuscular weakness may be exacerbated by administration of another botulinum toxin prior to the resolution of the effects of a previously administered botulinum toxin. Excessive weakness may also be exaggerated by administration of a muscle relaxant before or after administration of BOTOX®.
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.

Khalaf Bushara and David Park were the first to demonstrate a nonmuscular use of BTX-A while treating patients with hemifacial spasm in England in 1993, showing that botulinum toxin injections inhibit sweating, and so are useful in treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).[85] BTX-A has since been approved for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating of unknown cause), which cannot be managed by topical agents.[11][24]

This is because the discretionary procedures tend to be out of pocket, and providers are used to answering the question: how much does it cost? An MRI, on the other hand, might have several prices: A sticker price, a negotiated or reimbursed rate (what the insurance company pays), the rate that Medicare and Medicaid pay for treatments for people who are older and those who have low income, an out-of-network price, and so on. We know about this because we’ve done pricing surveys for about 35 common procedures in seven U.S. metro areas, collecting cash or self-pay prices for both medically necessary procedures (an MRI, a colonoscopy) and discretionary procedures (Botox, Lasik).


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.

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.
As with with plastic surgery or any other cosmetic procedure, what you are paying for is an injector who has experience and a proven track record of beautiful results. If you're looking for a precise estimate of what it will cost to achieve your Botox goals, I encourage you to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for an initial consultation.
Serious and/or immediate hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. These reactions include anaphylaxis, serum sickness, urticaria, soft tissue edema, and dyspnea. If such a reaction occurs, further injection of BOTOX should be discontinued and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted. One fatal case of anaphylaxis has been reported in which lidocaine was us ed as the diluent, and consequently the causal agent cannot be reliably determined.
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
There were 214 subjects evaluated for the open label period, of which 170 progressed into the randomized, blinded treatment p eriod (88 in the BOTOX group, 82 in the placebo group). Patient evaluations continued for at least 10 weeks post-injection. The primary outcome for the study was a dual endpoint, requiring evidence of both a change in the Cervical Dystonia Severity Scale (CDSS) and an increase in the percentage of patients showing any improvement on the Physician Global Assessment Scale at 6 weeks after the injection session. The CDSS quantifies the severity of abnormal head positioning and was newly devised for this study. CDSS a llots 1 point for each 5 degrees (or part thereof) of head deviation in each of the three planes of head movement (range of scores up to theoretical maximum of 54). The Physician Global Assessment Scale is a 9 category scale scoring the physician's evaluation of the patients' status compared to baseline, ranging from 4 to +4 (very marked worsening to complete improvement), with 0 indicating no change from baseline and +1 slight improvement. Pain is also an important symptom of cervical dystonia and was evaluated by separate assessments of pain frequency and severity on scales of 0 (no pain) to 4 (constant in frequency or extremely severe in intensity). Study results on the primary endpoints and the pain-related secondary endpoints are shown in Table 35.
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Dr. Matarasso says hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t see a patient with a botched Botox job. Why? People are getting it done by unexperienced, often unlicensed, practitioners who don’t know the shape of the face and how to correctly administer the toxin. “I just had a patient come in the other day who went to an ER doctor, and one that went to a psychiatrist,” he says. “They [also] have these Botox parties and I have seen scarring, significant bruising, not only functional, but aesthetic complications.” 

Is the cosmetic injectable product real? Great question! The answer is maybe? It is possible that the provider dispensing Botox or Dysport obtained the drug from an overseas dispensary outside of the United States. These foreign vendors sell Botox and Dysport to doctors and nurses in the U.S. at a discounted price but their product is not always the real thing. That’s right! The Botox maybe counterfeit. The bottles may look identical but the product inside may not be real which means it may not work as effectively or not at all ! So if the provider is offering Botox or Dysport really cheap The first question should be –Was it manufactured by the U.S. company?
Food-borne botulism results, indirectly, from ingestion of food contaminated with Clostridium spores, where exposure to an anaerobic environment allows the spores to germinate, after which the bacteria can multiply and produce toxin.[citation needed] Critically, it is ingestion of toxin rather than spores or vegetative bacteria that causes botulism.[citation needed] Botulism is nevertheless known to be transmitted through canned foods not cooked correctly before canning or after can opening, and so is preventable.[citation needed] Infant botulism cases arise chiefly as a result of environmental exposure and are therefore more difficult to prevent.[citation needed] Infant botulism arising from consumption of honey can be prevented by eliminating honey from diets of children less than 12 months old.[71]
When receiving Botox, it’s critical to know what you’re getting and to be sure that you get what you pay for. Usually, the cost of Botox is calculated on a per unit basis. This is the preferred option of many patients and surgeons as you only pay for the units of Botox used to treat any given area. This means that if you only require ten units to correct your forehead wrinkles, you simply pay for ten units at the specified price and that’s it.

My patients who do respond say that it is absolutely worth it. For people who can’t get their headaches under control with the usual medications, or who suffer from problematic side effects from those drugs, Botox can be a great option. For many of my patients, it has reduced their medication needs and restored their ability to function in their jobs and families.


Still, Botox's use for depression raises a question that confounds some researchers. In some cases, how Botox works is evident: the toxin can block the signals between nerves and muscles, which is why it can help calm an overactive bladder, say, or a twitching eye, or the facial muscles that make wrinkles more apparent. In other cases, however (with migraines as well as with depression), scientists are flummoxed. They may have noticed that the drug works for a given condition, but they aren't always sure why--in sciencespeak, they don't know what the mechanism is.

“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.
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In patients who are not catheterizing, post-void residual (PVR) urine volume should be assessed within 2 weeks post-treatment and periodically as medically appropriate up to 12 weeks, particularly in patients with multiple sclerosis or diabetes mellitus. Depending on patient symptoms, institute catheterization if PVR urine volume exceeds 200 mL and continue until PVR falls below 200 mL. Instruct patients to contact their physician if they experience difficulty in voiding as catheterization may be required.
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.
BOTOX® treats the symptoms of severe underarm sweating when topical medicines do not work well enough in people 18 years and older. It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective for severe sweating anywhere other than your armpits. BOTOX® treatments temporarily block the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands, resulting in reduced sweating.
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