In the case of Botox, doctors who experiment off-label say they do so because they're looking for better treatment options for their patients. "In my 30 years of medical practice, Botox is one of the most impactful treatments I had ever seen," says Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, who independently studied Botox for overactive bladder before the FDA approved it for that condition in 2013.
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.

Receiving Botox injections for migraines is a straightforward outpatient procedure. The skin in the area to be injected is cleaned. Most injections are administered in the forehead area, usually above the eyes or where “worry lines” might occur. Because this area may be sensitive or patients may be experiencing hypersensitivity to pain, a topical anesthetic may be applied before the injection.
The FDA approval was based on a large study showing that Botox significantly reduced migraine frequency and severity, as well as headache-related disability, compared to placebo. As just one measure of its effectiveness, many of my patients report that they’ve cut their use of rescue medications in half since starting Botox – a significant benefit for people who previously had to resort to rescue medications 15 or more times every month.
Last time I went in for my Botox treatment, my doctor asked me if I wanted to try Aimovig. Amgen and Novartis, the two manufacturers, were offering two free injections before I could access the drug through my health insurance. I declined. I didn’t want to start a new treatment that I’ll likely be booted from in a few months because of how expensive it is. Plus, the Botox is working great. I just wish I could have gotten it when I first went to see a migraine specialist, two and half years ago.
In clinical trials, 30.6% of patients (33/108) who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to injection, required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 200 Units as compared to 6.7% of patients (7/104) treated with placebo. The median duration of postinjection catheterization for these patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units (n = 33) was 289 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 530 days) as compared to a median duration of 358 days (minimum 2 days to maximum 379 days) for patients receiving placebo (n = 7).
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.

Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
In rare cases, Botox toxin can spread to areas beyond the injection site. If this happens, you may experience muscle weakness, vision changes, difficulty swallowing, and drooping eyelids. To reduce your risk of serious side effects and complications, always make sure Botox is prescribed and administered by a trained healthcare professional who has experience in using Botox.
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.
Botox is considered as an elective procedure which means that the insurance does not cover the cost. But in case of treating medical conditions, an insurance can cover the cost of the treatment but make sure to consult your doctor regarding the coverage. Botox injections can also be used to treat conditions such as excessive perspiration (hyperhidrosis), migraine and muscle spasticity.
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The more areas that need treatment the higher the cost of treatment. The reason is also simple – the cost of Botox or Dysport that the doctor pays for the drugs is relatively expensive and therefore that cost is obviously passed along to the patient. A second factor that many patients are unaware of is that Botox and Dysport come in a powder form that must be mixed with sterile saline to reconstitute the vial. The amount of water that is mixed with the Botox or Dysport determines the concentration of the medicine. Some doctors and nurses dilute the powder too much so that the concentration of Botox or Dysport is weak. So if you go to a provider who advertises a cheap price for injections you should question whether or not you are receiving a very dilute injection.This dilute mixture typically does not produce the same effect as a more or not concentrated (more expensive) injection and does not last as long.

Study 3 compared 3 doses of BOTOX with placebo and enrolled 88 patients [BOTOX 360 Units (N=23), BOTOX 180 Units (N=23), BOTOX 90 Units (N=23), and placebo (N=19)] with upper limb spasticity (expanded Ashworth score of at least 2 for elbow flexor tone and at least 3 for wrist flexor tone and/or finger flexor tone) who were at least 6 weeks post -stroke. BOTOX and placebo were injected with EMG guidance into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum sublimi s, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and biceps brachii (see Table 27).
The FDA now requires black box labeling on Botox and similar products such as Dysport and Xeomin to warn of rare but potentially life-threatening swallowing and breathing complications if the toxin spreads beyond the injection site. None of these complications have occurred in people using Botox for cosmetic reasons and the FDA states that cosmetic use of Botox appears to be safe.
OnabotulinumtoxinA is the only treatment approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of headaches in adult patients with chronic migraine (CM). CM assessment involves a detailed history to rule out secondary sources of headache, establish migraine features, and assess the total number of headache days. In order to diagnose migraine, the patient should have had at least five attacks that involve migraine features, as outlined below. In adults, untreated attacks usually last 4 or more hours.

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.
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