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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.
It’s not just about Botox, though. Last month, the FDA approved the first migraine-specific drug to prevent the severe headaches. Called Aimovig, the injectable med will cost $6,900 a year, according to The New York Times, plus injection fees. Because of the high costs, experts expect the new drug to be subject to step therapy policies. Stephen Silberstein, the director of the headache center at Jefferson University, told me in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance companies required patients to even try and fail Botox before covering the new meds (there are a few of them under development).
There are no studies or adequate data from postmarketing surveillance on the developmental risk associated with use of BOTOX in pregnant women. In animal studies, administration of BOTOX during pregnancy resulted in adverse effects on fetal growth (decreased fetal weight and skeletal ossification) at clinically relevant doses, which were associated with maternal toxicity [see Data)].
Some doctors and dermatologists recommend lying down and resting after a treatment, but Ravitz says she doesn't think there's any need for downtime unless a patient experiences pain. It can take about two weeks to work, though some patients start to feel relief from chronic migraines sooner than that. Ravitz tells me, "If it’s going to work for a patient, one round of the treatment typically lasts for around three months." Though everybody metabolizes it at a different rate, getting it done every three months or so has been found to be effective.
Chapman and Bomba-Warczak both think Botox is safe when used correctly, but they say their inboxes quickly filled with messages after their study was published. "We were startled by the number of people who feel they were harmed by these toxins," says Chapman. "We feel these were pretty safe agents. Now it seems that for some people, they believe the toxin can sometimes cause something that may be irreversible. And that's a total mystery."
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.
The results showed that 34% of those who responded and tried Botox said it significantly helped them. Sixteen percent reported a slight benefit. Nine percent stated that it didn’t help at all. Eleven percent stated that they would like to try Botox but it is too expensive. About 10% said they had no plans to try Botox, and 18% said they hadn’t tried it yet.
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 injections use onaboutlinumtoxin A, also known as the botulinum toxin, injected in small amounts to certain points in the head to treat migraine headaches, tension headaches, and chronic daily headaches. This treatment has been shown to be most effective for headaches that are located in the forehead and neck. Botox has also been used to treat the following conditions:
There are no limits on therapy or activity after the session. For patients that don’t normally use a device to help them walk, at first it may seem like their walking has gotten worse. They need some time to get used to the feeling of the sudden change in the way their muscle contracts when they walk. This most often improves quickly over one to two weeks. Some very young children may have discomfort in their heel cord from rapid stretching. The child may limp or refuse to put weight on it. Again, this most often resolves quickly in the first week.
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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.
This imbalance can affect a joint in varied ways such as at the ankle with foot position (always points toes or up on toes when walking) or at the wrist with hand position (hand in flexion with problems grasping). After a contracture occurs (not able to bring the joint through its full range of motion, even with forceful / prolonged stretching) it can be hard to re-establish full range of motion at that joint without surgery.
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 post-injection 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).