Hoffman’s husband’s experience is not unusual. Once a patient gets the more expensive prescription, health insurance providers can still try and push them back to cheaper drugs. Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Loder says that most health insurance companies stop paying for Botox if it’s not reducing a patient’s migraines by at least 50 percent. “It’s important to keep careful headache diaries and keep careful notes in order to be able to prove to the insurance company that the treatment is worth it,” Loder says. “You’re not home free once they approve it.”
BOTOX® increases the incidence of urinary tract infection. Clinical trials for overactive bladder excluded patients with more than 2 UTIs in the past 6 months and those taking antibiotics chronically due to recurrent UTIs. Use of BOTOX® for the treatment of overactive bladder in such patients and in patients with multiple recurrent UTIs during treatment should only be considered when the benefit is likely to outweigh the potential risk.
When women in their 20's first consider getting Botox, prevention is often the primary factor, since the early signs of aging—such as crow's feet, forehead wrinkles, and fine lines—are beginning to show. "Lines get deeper and deeper with age," explains Wexler. "If you start [getting Botox] early enough and it's done properly, you're not going to need [as much] in the future." For younger patients wary of the frozen look—remember, youthful faces move—Wexler likes to employ lower doses of Botox via ultra-targeted micro injections administered on specific areas of the face such as the forehead, brows, or around the eyes.
In 1986, Oculinum Inc, Scott's micromanufacturer and distributor of botulinum toxin, was unable to obtain product liability insurance, and could no longer supply the drug. As supplies became exhausted, patients who had come to rely on periodic injections became desperate. For 4 months, as liability issues were resolved, American blepharospasm patients traveled to Canadian eye centers for their injections.
The potency Units of BOTOX® Cosmetic are specific to the preparation and assay method utilized. They are not interchangeable with other preparations of botulinum toxin products and, therefore, units of biological activity of BOTOX® Cosmetic cannot be compared to nor converted into units of any other botulinum toxin products assessed with any other specific assay method.
In November, the FDA held a two-day hearing asking for expert comment on the agency's rules concerning off-label drug use and marketing. Some said the practice paves the way for scientific progress and gives doctors and their patients much needed alternatives for hard-to-treat medical conditions. Others said that off-label drug use is primarily financially motivated and that it poses a serious threat to public health, particularly when drugs are used experimentally on children.
One of the most beneficial uses of BOTOX\for migraines is that it can serve as an indicator of how effective migraine surgery might be for you. BOTOX stops contracting muscles from irritating triggering nerves. If that gives you relief, you may benefit from surgery to “free up” pressure on those nerves. Using BOTOX may also help identify which nerves could be triggering your migraines, making surgical intervention more targeted.
Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
But it could be something else altogether. In 2008, Matteo Caleo, a researcher at the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, published a controversial study showing that when he injected the muscles of rats with Botox, he found evidence of the drug in the brain stem. He also injected Botox into one side of the brain in mice and found that it spread to the opposite side. That suggested the toxin could access the nervous system and the brain.
"Botox is a toxin that is extracted from a certain bacteria. It's been used for a couple of hundred years in medicine. It was first used in neurological conditions rather than cosmetic ones. It was first approved to treat spasms of the face and eye muscles. Only later was it discovered coincidentally that it could world for cosmetic purposes, like wrinkles," he says.
The company markets brand products in six therapeutic areas: aesthetics/dermatology/plastic surgery; neurosciences/CNS; eye care; women’s health and urology; GI and cystic fibrosis; and cardiovascular disease and infectious disease. The company's products include Botox (botulinum toxin), Namenda (memantine), Restasis (ciclosporin), Linzess (linaclotide), Bystolic (nebivolol), Juvederm (injectable filler), Latisse (bimatoprost), Lo Loestrin Fe, Estrace (estradiol), Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil), Dalvance (dalbavancin, Ozurdex (dexamethasone), Optive, Natrelle, Viibryd (vilazodone), Liletta (levonorgestrel), Saphris (asenapine), Enablex (darifenacin), Actonel (risedronic acid), Androderm (testosterone), and Gelnique (oxybutynin).
But in a recent Fat Mascara podcast, NYC dermatologist Pat Wexler, MD, said this is a myth. And Dr. Matarasso falls somewhere in-between. “For aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, does a 19-year-old need this? No. Does a 26-year-old need this for aesthetic purposes? Highly doubtful. But, hey, listen, if you are like, ‘I am looking at my parents, I am looking at my genes, and I want to stay proactive,’ it is not unreasonable to introduce it in small amounts.”
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.
Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: bleeding problems, eye surgery, certain eye problem (glaucoma), heart disease, diabetes, signs of infection near the injection site, urinary tract infection, inability to urinate, muscle/nerve disorders (such as Lou Gehrig's disease-ALS, myasthenia gravis), seizures, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), breathing problems (such as asthma, emphysema, aspiration-type pneumonia), treatment with any botulinum toxin product (especially in the last 4 months).
Chronic migraines are what were formerly known as “transformed” migraines. These are near daily headaches, sometimes with migraine features but otherwise with frequent features of tension headaches. This may sound trivial but the treatment for tension headaches, typically with analgesics, would only make this syndrome worse. We learned that treating these with migraine preventive medications proved mostly effective. The current International Classification of Headache Disorders defines chronic migraine as a recurrent headache that has been ongoing for the past 3 months, occurs on at least 15 days per month, lasts at least 4 hours per day, and has 8 or more days per month when the headache has features of a migraine or responds to a typical migraine medication.
Warnings and Precautions: In patients using LUMIGAN® (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) or other prostaglandin analogs for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), the concomitant use of LATISSE® may interfere with the desired reduction in IOP. Patients using prostaglandin analogs including LUMIGAN® for IOP reduction should only use LATISSE® after consulting with their physician and should be monitored for changes to their intraocular pressure.
Some critics say Botox makes you lose all the personality from your face, leaving you with a significantly less range of motion when you laugh, or get angry or upset. While it’s true that your movement will be restricted, a moderate amount of Botox will still allow you to react and communicate in a lively way. “Botox relaxes the wrinkle-forming facial muscles at the sight of injection, such as crow’s feet, glabella (the ‘furrows’ in between the brows), and frontalis (forehead lines),” Dr. Waibel says. “Botox does not affect other facial muscles that are used for overall facial expressions.”
Botox has also been shown to prevent chronic migraines, but there, it's unclear exactly why Botox works. (For doctors, reaching a firm understanding of how Botox prevents migraines will be tricky, since they don't know for certain what causes the severe headaches in the first place.) "There were multiple clinical trials for migraines, and most of them failed," says Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of drug development at Allergan and chief scientific officer for Botox. "It took a long time to figure out where to inject and how much." Today people who receive Botox for migraine prevention get 31 injections in different spots on their head and neck. The effects of Botox can last about three to six months depending on the condition.
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/4 mL or 100 Units/2 mL with preservative -free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP (see Table 1). The lowest recommended starting dose should be used, and no more than 50 Units p er site should generally be administered. An appropriately sized needle (e.g., 25-30 gauge) may be used for superficial muscles, and a longer 22 gauge needle may be used for deeper musculature. Localization of the involved muscles with techniques such as needle electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation is recommended.
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In 2010, Allergan pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $600 million to resolve allegations that it unlawfully promoted Botox for conditions--including headaches, pain, spasticity and juvenile cerebral palsy--that at the time were not approved by the FDA. In one of the complaints, prosecutors said that Allergan "illegally, vigorously and without any thought to the possible negative health effects to which it subjected patients, promoted off-label uses of Botox." The U.S. Department of Justice also argued that Allergan exploited on-label uses for cervical dystonia--a disorder characterized by extreme neck-muscle contractions--to "grow off-label pain and headache sales." Prosecutors also argued that Allergan paid doctors to give presentations and trainings to other physicians about Botox uses that at the time were off-label.
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.
Botulinum toxin injections are one approach to the treatment of muscle spasticity. These injections can be given with ease and have minimal side effects. They can also be used in very focal spasticity problems that involve a few muscle groups. This treatment may not be right for some patients, such as patients with severe, widespread muscle spasticity, and patients with permanent muscle contractures that have become rigid.
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.