It is not known whether BOTOX® is safe or effective to treat increased stiffness in upper limb muscles other than those in the elbow, wrist, fingers, and thumb, or in lower limb muscles other than those in the ankle and toes. BOTOX® has not been shown to help people perform task-specific functions with upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.
Now, thanks in large part to off-label use, Botox--the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph--is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal's patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug's unique characteristics as much as the drug industry's unique strategies for creating a blockbuster.
Proper refrigeration at temperatures below 3 °C (38 °F) retards the growth of Clostridium botulinum. The organism is also susceptible to high salt, high oxygen, and low pH levels. The toxin itself is rapidly destroyed by heat, such as in thorough cooking. The spores that produce the toxin are heat-tolerant and will survive boiling water for an extended period of time.
Baby Botox can also be used as an upkeep strategy. "I really think of it as small maintenance doses of Botox over time instead of standard doses given at three- to six-month intervals," says Smith. "The other term that describes this well is 'tweakment' — subtle changes done over a longer period of time using lower doses of product at each treatment."
In cosmetic applications, botulinum toxin is considered safe and effective for reduction of facial wrinkles, especially in the uppermost third of the face. Injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles under facial wrinkles causes relaxation of those muscles, resulting in the smoothing of the overlying skin. Smoothing of wrinkles is usually visible three days after treatment and is maximally visible two weeks following injection. The treated muscles gradually regain function, and generally return to their former appearance three to four months after treatment. Muscles can be treated repeatedly to maintain the smoothed appearance.
I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.
Dr. Starling says the FDA approval indicates that the anti-CGRP treatments are ideal for individuals with episodic migraine who have four to 14 headache days per month, and people with chronic migraine who have 15 or more headache days per month. Clinical trials are also being conducted to see if anti-CGRP antibodies are effective for the treatment of cluster headache. “The initial studies have demonstrated that it’s likely effective for cluster headache patients,” Dr. Starling says. The FDA’s approval of these medications has been incredibly meaningful for the migraine community. “The migraine community is feeling like they’re relevant—that they’re being seen, heard and taken seriously,” Dr. Starling says. “There are many people who are working hard to develop more treatment options until we can address every patient who has migraine, and eventually find a cure.”
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.
Botox must be used only under a doctor's care. It's important that injections be placed precisely in order to avoid side effects. Botox therapy can be dangerous if it's administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments.
Study responders were defined as patients who showed at least a 2-grade improvement from baseline value on the HDSS 4 weeks after both of the first two treatment sessions or had a sustained response after their first treatment session and did not receive re-treatment during the study. Spontaneous resting axillary sweat production was assessed by weighing a filter paper held in the axilla ov er a period of 5 minutes (gravimetric measurement). Sweat production responders were those patients who demonstrated a reduction in axillary sweating from baseline of at least 50% at week 4.
There are many physicians who encourage their patients to either work the area several times during the next several days or, alternatively, to not use the affected muscles during the next several days. Many practitioners do not tell the patients to do anything in particular other than to avoid strenuous activity for several hours afterward because of an increased risk of bruising.
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.”
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