Yes. The number of men receiving cosmetic treatments overall has risen by 325% over the last 20 years. And the number of men specifically choosing treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic has also risen fast– in the past three years alone, men have received over one million botulinum toxin treatments. When surveyed, the majority of men say they want to look good and they’re bothered by the changes they see in the mirror. 80% would choose to treat their crow’s feet first, while 74% would prioritize their forehead lines, and 60% would most like to treat their frown lines.†
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.
Why Botox works isn’t completely clear. There’s some evidence that it may reduce the production of neurotransmitters related to pain in the areas where it’s injected. There’s also some evidence that it may have a broader effect on the brain’s pain centers, reducing the sensitivity that causes migraine sufferers to react to migraine triggers. While the exact mechanisms are poorly understood, the studies, as well as many of my patients’ experiences, do show a real benefit for many people.
Strabismus is caused by imbalances in the actions of muscles that rotate the eyes, and can sometimes be relieved by weakening a muscle that pulls too strongly, or pulls against one that has been weakened by disease or trauma. Muscles weakened by toxin injection recover from paralysis after several months, so it might seem that injection would then need to be repeated. However, muscles adapt to the lengths at which they are chronically held, so that if a paralyzed muscle is stretched by its antagonist, it grows longer, while the antagonist shortens, yielding a permanent effect. If there is good binocular vision, the brain mechanism of motor fusion, which aligns the eyes on a target visible to both, can stabilize the corrected alignment.
This product contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). There is a theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but if that risk actually exists, the risk of transmission would also be considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases, CJD or vCJD have ever been identified for licensed albumin or albumin contained in other licensed products.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.
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Please note, there are no guaranteed results with BOTOX and results may vary from patients to patient. Though BOTOX is not effective for all types of headaches, about 90% of MRC’s patients report that their migraines are less frequent and not as severe after BOTOX treatment. In clinical trials, patients reported seven to nine fewer headaches per month. In a study by A. H. Elkind, P. O’Carroll, A. Blumenfeld, R. DeGryse, and R. Dimitrova, a standard course of treatment brought patients these results:
Two preparations of botulinum antitoxins are available for treatment of botulism. Trivalent (A,B,E) botulinum antitoxin is derived from equine sources using whole antibodies. The second antitoxin is Heptavalent (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) botulinum antitoxin, which is derived from equine antibodies which have been altered to make them less immunogenic. This antitoxin is effective against all known strains of botulism.
How does BOTOX work in migraines? The current theory is that BOTOX disrupts the trigeminal nerve terminal end. This leads to down-regulation of the trigeminal nerve cells and suppression of neurotransmitter release in two critical areas: central neuronal glutamate release and peripheral nerve inflammatory-inducing compounds such as CGRP in the cerebral blood vessels.
Botox is injected in and around the head on an average of every three months. It blocks signals from nerves and paralyzes the muscles, ultimately preventing migraines. It is known to relax the muscles that usually contract during migraines. It’s also the only FDA-approved medication to prevent migraines before they even start! It’s known to prevent about nine migraines per month.
Some service providers offer financing options to make the procedure affordable. The Botox Cosmetic product is eligible for the Brilliant Distinctions Program that helps the members through savings, rebates, bonus points, and other perks. But there are also some providers with their own rebate program that gives a discount on the next procedure by 10% to 25%. Coupons are available in forms of discount, promo or free service for loyal customers. Also, a large volume of Botox used in the treatment, there is a possibility to avail discounted price of the Botox per unit.
The cost for Botox may range from $125 to $400 per treatment area. Multiple areas may be treated at one time, and repeat treatments are needed every three to four months, on average. When it comes to Botox and other injectables, you get what you pay for. Buyer beware: bargain Botox may increase your risk of complications, including poor cosmetic results. If the cost is prohibitive, ask your doctor about payment plans.
Patients with smaller neck muscle mass and patients who require bilateral injections into the sternocleidomastoid muscle for the treatment of cervical dystonia have been reported to be at greater risk for dysphagia. Limiting the dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle may reduce the occurrence of dysphagia. Injections into the levator scapulae may be associated wit h an increased risk of upper respiratory infection and dysphagia.
Sometimes, because of these policies, patients are put on meds that are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraines, like the antidepressant amitriptyline and the high blood pressure drug verapamil. “In my experience, [verapamil is] not very effective,” says Elizabeth Loder, chief of the headache division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the former president of the American Headache Society. For the insurance companies, that doesn’t seem to matter. “It’s frustrating to patients, especially when it seems like some of the treatments that they’re required to try have a lot of side effects and haven’t really been tested that carefully for migraines.”
Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
In her talk, Lalvani expressed her intent to drive AMF’s mission forward by leveraging the expertise of the American Headache Society and incorporating more patient voices. The Move Against Migraine support community is essential to that goal, and AMF strives to be a trusted partner for support, resources and credible information for everyone in the community. The Move Against Migraine campaign was launched to raise awareness of migraine, but that’s only the beginning. Lalvani pointed to AMF’s advocacy and community-building efforts, specifically the response to Elle’s “Migraine Pose” article and robust partnership program. Whatever the platform and audience, AMF works to ensure the patient voice is always included and heard. Lalvani concluded her talk by stressing that patients have an important role to play as “drivers of change” and encouraged listeners to continue connecting with AMF. Check out our full library of Facebook Live recaps with some of the leading headache specialists and patient advocates in the country, and visit our resource library for more information on how you can better advocate for yourself and the migraine community.
There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines, crow’s feet lines, and/or forehead lines.