Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide found all over the body, says Dr. Amaal Starling, an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. This neuropeptide attaches to a receptor called a CGRP receptor. CGRP and its receptor are involved in numerous bodily processes—from gastrointestinal movement to the transmission of pain. Over the past few decades, there has been increasing evidence that CGRP plays a role in both migraine and cluster headache. During a migraine attack, researchers have found increased levels of CGRP in patients’ blood and saliva. They discovered migraine medications like sumatriptan reduced levels of CGRP in patients living with migraine. They also found that patients with chronic migraine—meaning 15 or more migraine days per month, eight of which either meet criteria for migraine or are treated with migraine-specific medication—had chronically elevated levels of CGRP. In addition, recent research found that giving a patient with migraine an infusion of CGRP would lead to a migraine-like attack. “All of these studies led to the hypothesis that CGRP and its receptor play a key role in migraine, as well as in cluster headache,” Dr. Starling says.
The primary efficacy variable was wrist flexors muscle tone at week 6, as measured by the Ashworth score. The Ashworth Scale is a 5-point scale with grades of 0 [no increase in muscle tone] to 4 [limb rigid in flexion or extension]. It is a clinical measure of the force required to move an extremity around a joint, with a reduction in score clinically representing a reduction in the force need ed to move a joint (i.e., improvement in spasticity).
Bronchitis was reported more frequently as an adverse reaction in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with BOTOX® (3% at 251 Units to 360 Units total dose) compared to placebo (1%). In patients with reduced lung function treated for upper limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were also reported more frequently as adverse reactions in patients treated with BOTOX® (11% at 360 Units total dose; 8% at 240 Units total dose) compared to placebo (6%). In adult patients treated for lower limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were reported more frequently as an adverse event in patients treated with BOTOX® (2% at 300 Units to 400 Units total dose), compared to placebo (1%).
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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.
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.”
Beware of Botox injections at a "Botox party" at someone's house. You need to be in a medical setting, where any side effects can be treated immediately. You may not see the final effects of the injections during the party anyway, as they usually take a few days. A Botox party isn't such a bad idea if it's held by a doctor in a medical setting, but even then there's a risk of the doctor's attention being divided between you and the other attendees.
Do not receive BOTOX® Cosmetic if you: are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTOX® Cosmetic (see Medication Guide for ingredients); had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as Myobloc® (rimabotulinumtoxinB), Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA), or Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.
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