The drug has come a long way since its ability to smooth facial wrinkles was first discovered, by accident. In the 1970s, ophthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott started studying the toxin as a therapy for people with a medical condition that rendered them cross-eyed. "Some of these patients that would come would kind of joke and say, 'Oh, Doctor, I've come to get the lines out.' And I would laugh, but I really wasn't tuned in to the practical, and valuable, aspect of that," Scott told CBS in 2012. Scott named the drug Oculinum and formed a company of the same name in 1978. In 1989 he received FDA approval for the treatment of strabismus (the crossed-eye disorder) and abnormal eyelid spasms.
Dr. Schwedt believes ARMR offers hope for patients living with migraine. “ARMR data could lead to breakthroughs in the field,” he says. One hope for ARMR is that it will contribute to the ability for health care providers to use precision medicine to treat their patients. Clinical trials show which migraine therapies are overall effective for groups of people with migraine; however, health care providers are still working to understand which specific therapy is ideal for a particular patient. “One of the challenges we have in this field right now is being able to determine which exact therapy is going to be best for which patient,” Dr. Schwedt says. “For example, we might know that about 50% of patients will benefit from a specific migraine preventive therapy, but we don’t know in advance which 50% that is. I believe the data we’re collecting in ARMR is going to help us get to the stage where we can practice precision medicine, knowing which therapy is most likely to help an individual patient prior to the patient starting that therapy.”
Other adverse reactions that occurred more frequently in the BOTOX group compared to the placebo group at a frequency less th an 1% and potentially BOTOX related include: vertigo, dry eye, eyelid edema, dysphagia, eye infection, and jaw pain. Severe worsening of migraine requiring hospitalization occurred in approximately 1% of BOTOX treated patients in Study 1 and Study 2, usually within the first week after treatment, compared to 0.3% of placebo-treated patients.
A follow-up visit is most often scheduled at around three months after injection. The team will determine if it was helpful and if the effect is wearing off. The effect on muscle spasticity by botulinum toxin is temporary and can last for up to three to five months. This also varies with the amount of toxin injected, the size of the muscle, the degree of spasticity in the muscle, and treatment such as therapy and bracing.
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Simply put, "Baby Botox" uses a lower volume of Botox (a.k.a. botulinum toxin injections) than a traditional injection to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. "Instead of using 25 units in an area, you may use 10 units," Melissa Doft, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, tells Allure. "I have many patients who ask for half the normal dose, as they do not want to look frozen but are tired of wrinkles in photos. First-time Botox patients are perfect for this."
In May, hedge fund Appaloosa Management, run by David Tepper, received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to potentially increase its stake in the Botox-maker. This means that Appaloosa now has more flexibility to push for further changes at Allergan. It remains to be seen if that happens, but if so, it could mean more changes are ahead for the drugmaker.
I was lucky. My health insurance only required me to try and fail two other less expensive migraine medications, and it didn’t dictate how long I had to try them for before giving up. Other insurers have stricter rules: Aetna, for example, requires patients to try at least three medications for at least two months each. HealthPartners also requires patients to try and fail three medications, such as beta blockers and antidepressants, without specifying for how long. (Requirements may vary by state and policy.) Because these migraine drugs are designed to treat other conditions like high blood pressure and depression, they can have serious side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly.
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.
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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.
Not a Botox patient? Listen anyway. This is good practice for asking the price for other medical procedures like an MRI or a colonoscopy, where the information can be much harder to get. The common replies you could get: “What’s your insurance?” “We can’t tell you because it depends on your deductible.” “We don’t know.” “You’ll have to call billing.”
Both Aetna and HealthPartners tell The Verge in an email that they don’t require patients to try verapamil specifically. “Verapamil is just one of many options available to treat migraines. Some are FDA-approved, others are not,” says Becca Johnson, a spokesperson for HealthPartners. Patients are required to try other oral medications because they’re either cheaper or not as invasive as getting Botox injections. “The rationale is that these medications are generally effective and safe,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesperson for Aetna.
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.
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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.
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.
In double-blind, placebo-controlled chronic migraine efficacy trials (Study 1 and Study 2), the discontinuation rate was 12% in the BOTOX treated group and 10% in the placebo-treated group. Discontinuations due to an adverse event were 4% in the BOTOX group and 1% in the placebo group. The most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation in the BOTOX group were neck pain, headache, worsening migraine, muscular weakness and eyelid ptosis.
Reduced blinking from BOTOX injection of the orbicularis muscle can lead to corneal exposure, persistent epithelial defect, and corneal ulceration, especially in patients with VII nerve disorders. Vigorous treatment of any epithelial defect should be employed. This may require protective drops, ointment, therapeutic soft contact lenses, or closure of the eye by patching or other me ans.
Tell your doctor if you have received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.