Botox is said to decrease the frequency of migraine days by an average of 50 percent for those who suffer chronically (people who experience 15 or more headache days per month). After going through hell with my insurance to get approval, I scheduled an appointment with New York City neurologist and pain-management specialist Risa Ravitz. She was kind enough to speak with me about the wonders of Botox while we did my first procedure in June 2017.
Botulinum toxin is used to treat certain eye disorders such as crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrolled blinking (blepharospasm), to treat muscle stiffness/spasms or movement disorders (such as cervical dystonia, torticollis), and to reduce the cosmetic appearance of wrinkles. It is also used to prevent headaches in people with very frequent migraines. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscle by blocking the release of a chemical called acetylcholine.

Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and related species.[1] It prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction and thus causes flaccid paralysis. Infection with the bacterium causes the disease botulism. The toxin is also used commercially in medicine, cosmetics and research.


Scientists at the University of Granada have confirmed that injecting a local anesthetic or botulinum toxin (botox) into certain points named "trigger points" of the pericraneal and neck muscles reduce migraine frequency among migraine sufferers. University of Granada researchers have identified the location of these trigger points -which activation results in migraine- and their relationship with the duration and severity of this condition.
One glaring example took place over the weekend, when someone on Twitter (TWTR) posted a photograph of an injured police officer, with a caption that he’d been “brutalized” by the migrant caravan on its way to the United States. “These pictures do not capture police officers who were brutalized by members of the immigrant caravan making its way toward the U.S. in October 2018,” Snopes explained.

Allergan PLC (AGN) is a large market cap ($65B) biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of innovative and generic therapeutics for diseases affecting the eyes, bowel, lungs, skin, urogenital systems and brain. Through the acquisition of Tobira Pharmaceuticals and its assets including cenicriviroc (CVC), Allergan is one of the leaders in the clinical development of anti-NASH therapeutics (the focus of this article).
These injection sites have been carefully chosen to treat specific nerve endings that are sending pain signals. BOTOX for migraines has proven to be a highly-effective treatment for people who are living with the painful, debilitating symptoms of chronic migraines. BOTOX will be carefully and correctly injected into muscles just beneath the skin. The procedure is not particularly painful, with a sensation of pinpricks.
Symptoms of overdose are likely not to be present immediately following injection. Should accidental injection or oral ingest ion occur or overdose be suspected, the person should be medically supervised for several weeks for signs and symptoms of systemic muscular weakness which could be local, or distant from the site of injection [see BOX WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. These patients should be considered for further medical evaluation and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted, which may include hospitalization.

Unopened vials of BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C) for up to 36 months. Do not use after the expiration d ate on the vial. Administer BOTOX within 24 hours of reconstitution; during this period reconstituted BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C). Reconstituted BOTOX should be clear, colorless, and free of particulate matter.
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 ›
Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or neuromuscular junction disorders (eg, myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome) should be monitored when given botulinum toxin. Patients with known or unrecognized neuromuscular disorders or neuromuscular junction disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant effects including generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphonia, dysarthria, severe dysphagia, and respiratory compromise from therapeutic doses of BOTOX® (see Warnings and Precautions).
Botulinum toxin exerts its effect by cleaving key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerves which use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Once bound to the nerve terminal, the neuron takes up the toxin into a vesicle. As the vesicle moves farther into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin which triggers it to push across the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm.[1] Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.[1]
Some doctors and dermatologists recommend lying down and resting after a treatment, but Ravitz says she doesn't think there's any need for downtime unless a patient experiences pain. It can take about two weeks to work, though some patients start to feel relief from chronic migraines sooner than that. Ravitz tells me, "If it’s going to work for a patient, one round of the treatment typically lasts for around three months." Though everybody metabolizes it at a different rate, getting it done every three months or so has been found to be effective.
Over the next three decades, 1895-1925, as food canning was approaching a billion-dollar-a-year industry, botulism was becoming a public health hazard. Karl Friedrich Meyer, a prodigiously productive Swiss-American veterinary scientist created a center at the Hooper Foundation in San Francisco, where he developed techniques for growing the organism and extracting the toxin, and conversely, for preventing organism growth and toxin production, and inactivating the toxin by heating. The California canning industry was thereby preserved.
Botulinum toxin (BTX) is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and related species.[1] It prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction and thus causes flaccid paralysis. Infection with the bacterium causes the disease botulism. The toxin is also used commercially in medicine, cosmetics and research.
"There is a difference in pricing based on the duration of the results," says L.A.-based injection specialist Lisa Goodman. (FYI: She's incredible, and I emphatically recommend seeing her if you're in L.A. or Dara Liotta, MD, if you're in NYC.) "The longer-lasting formulas cost more upfront. Shorter-term fillers can last from six to 11 months based on the patient's rate of aging (i.e., smoking, drinking, sun exposure, genetics), while the longer-term fillers last about one to two years."
“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.
Most doctors suggest focusing on the quality of the skin with a proper regimen that includes daily exfoliation and SPF protection, as well regular chemical peels or specialized treatments such as Clear and Brilliant laser resurfacing during this decade. Still, there are exceptions. If constant eyebrow furrowing has resulted in the first signs of an angry crease or premature crow’s feet due to naturally thin skin are a persistent cause of frustration, injectibles can help. But as any good dermatologist will note, there is a caveat: When it comes to Botox and filler, there's a fine line between targeted tweaks and doing too much too soon. Here, in-demand experts share their guidelines for women in their 20s.
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!
I tell my patients that it is not the total price that is important, but how many units are used. For instance, if a patient goes to a spa and pays $150 per area, that may sound like a great deal. However, when the patient ask how long the treatment is supposed to last, the spa responds "2 months". I have seen that many of those less expensive treatments often consist of around 10 units (and therefore carrying a "non-deal" $15 cost per unit!). So, what initially looks like a great bargain, is in fact just a treatment with an inadequate amount of Botox. Always ask your injector how many units they are using, so you can determine what price/unit you are getting. Experienced injectors know that there is no such thing as a standard amount of units, as everyone's facial anatomy and muscular strengths are variable, even from one side of the face to the other.
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.
The most common severe adverse reaction associated with the use of BOTOX injection in patients with cervical dystonia is dysp hagia with about 20% of these cases also reporting dyspnea [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Most dysphagia is reported as mild or moderate in severity. However, it may be associated with more severe signs and symptoms [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Ptosis generally occurs from injecting the frontalis incorrectly. The worst mistake is for the injector to move the procerus and corrugator injection points higher, where they will place more onabotulinumtoxinA into the frontalis. It is important to examine patients to determine their preexisting conditions prior to treatment administration. In particular, patients should be examined for pre-existing eyelid ptosis or pseudoptosis. With pseudoptosis, the lid strength is normal, but soft tissue covers part of the upper lid. With lid ptosis, the lid strength is weak. For both lid ptosis and pseudoptosis, patients will have frontalis compensatory activity, resulting in upgoing eyebrows (reverse Babinski sign). With brow ptosis, the frontalis is weak, and the eyebrow is depressed downward leading to tissue resting on the upper lid. To avoid this, the frontalis should be injected in the upper third of the forehead. The corrugator muscle attaches to bone at the medial end of the superciliary arch. The muscle fibers travel laterally and upward inserting into the skin in the middle of the supraorbital margin. The corrugator muscle is partially blended with the orbicularis oculi and occipitofrontalis. The supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves pass through the corrugator muscle. The corrugator muscle acts to pull the eyebrows downward and medially, which causes vertical wrinkle lines in the skin between the brows.
The ideal needle to use is a 30G or 31G, half-inch needle. Longer needles are problematic as they encourage deeper injections, which can increase the risk of muscle weakness, and most of the side effects such as neck pain stem from muscle weakness. Perseverative-free normal saline is the only diluent that should be used. There is a case study of a patient who died when onabotulinumtoxinA was mixed with a local anesthetic agent. The pivotal trial established an effective dose using 2 mL/100 units of onabotulinumtoxinA. A fact that is often overlooked is that the mean dose in the trial was 165 units. The patients all received 155 units with a fixed dose, fixed-site injection protocol, and an option of an additional 40 units to follow the pain. This resulted in a mean dose of 165 units, which is the standard that should be used to achieve the efficacy results reviewed above.
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.
Sedation is not often used because the injection time is so short. A local numbing cream (anesthetic) is used instead. Young children often behave as if no numbing cream was used. This may be due to not fully understanding what is being done and having a fear of "shots." In these cases, gentle holding (restraint) is done to keep the area of the shot still. Two staff members sometimes give the injections at the same time to decrease the time of the session.
BOTOX is administered about every three months, and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger, relaxing the surrounding muscles so that they won’t compress the nerve and trigger a migraine. It is a potent drug, and we only recommend using it if other preventative treatment options haven’t helped you. It is generally only administered to patients who have at least 14 headaches a month, or don’t respond to other treatments.

The bacterium can also be found in the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish and in the gills and organs of crabs and other shellfish. Such naturally occurring instances of Clostridium botulinum bacteria and spores are generally harmless. Problems only arise when the spores transform into vegetative cells and the cell population increases. At a certain point, the bacteria begin producing botulinum toxin, the deadly neurotoxin responsible for botulism.
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