The use of Botox for migraines was, like many other new applications for the drug, a kind of happy accident. A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon observed that people who got Botox for wrinkles were reporting fewer headaches, paving the way for studies about migraines. Similarly, doctors in Europe were intrigued when they noticed that their patients who got Botox for facial spasms were sweating less than usual.
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The Botox used for migraines and the Botox used for cosmetic procedures is actually exactly the same. "Basically, young and middle-aged women were getting [Botox] for cosmetic purposes, and that’s the most common person that has migraines, and that’s how they figured out it was helpful," Ravitz tells me. Women were getting Botox for aesthetic reasons and happened to notice relief from their migraine symptoms, and doctors began looking into it as a direct treatment. In fact, women are disproportionately affected by migraines — about 85 percent of chronic-migraine sufferers are women, and the condition affects 28 million in just the U.S.
Jump up ^ van Ermengem E (1979). "Classics in infectious diseases. A new anaerobic bacillus and its relation to botulism. E. van Ermengem. Originally published as "Ueber einen neuen anaëroben Bacillus und seine Beziehungen zum Botulismus" in Zeitschrift für Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten 26: 1–56, 1897". Reviews of Infectious Diseases (in German). 1 (4): 701–19. PMID 399378. Original doi:10.1007/BF02220526
The recommended dose is 50 Units per axilla. The hyperhidrotic area to be injected should be defined using standard staining techniques, e.g., Minor's Iodine-Starch Test. The recommended dilution is 100 Units/4 mL with 0.9% preservative -free sterile saline (see Table 1). Using a sterile 30 gauge needle, 50 Units of BOTOX (2 mL) is injected intradermally in 0.1 to 0.2 mL aliquots to each axilla evenly distributed in multiple sites (10-15) approximately 1-2 cm apart.
Bronchitis was reported more frequently as an adverse reaction in patients treated for upper limb spas ticity with BOTOX (3% at 251 Units-360 Units total dose), compared to placebo (1%). In patients with reduced lung function treated for upper limb spasticity, up per respiratory tract infections were also reported more frequently as adverse reactions in pati ents 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%).
Botulism toxins are produced by bacteria of the genus Clostridium, namely Clostridium botulinum, C. butyricum, C. baratii and C. argentinense, which are widely distributed, including in soil and dust. As well, the bacteria can be found inside homes on floors, carpet, and countertops even after cleaning. Some food products such as honey can contain amounts of the bacteria.
It was peculiar advice coming from a shrink, but not without precedent. In 2014, Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Dr. Eric Finzi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington School of Medicine, published a study showing that when people with major depression got Botox, they reported fewer symptoms six weeks later than people who had been given placebo injections. "I'm always on the lookout for things that are unusual and interesting for depression," says Rosenthal, who is widely considered an expert on the condition. "I've found Botox to be helpful, but it's still not mainstream."
Pharmaceutical companies are not without blame. One reason why insurers impose step therapy is high drug prices. Botox, which is made from the toxin of certain bacteria, is much more expensive than other migraine treatments like beta blockers, which are available as generics. Botox costs about $4,800 a year, but with injection fees, treatment can cost up to $10,000 a year. “They could lower the price,” says Loder. “Their goal is to maximize return on investment for their stockholders. That’s not the same thing as maximizing benefits for patients, unfortunately.”
Botox (also known as Vistabel outside the U.S. and the U.K.) is an injection that temporarily relaxes facial muscles to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as prevent new lines from forming. Common injection sites include the forehead, the area between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, and the sides of the chin. Botox can also be used for a wide variety of other conditions, including migraines, excessive sweating, and psoriasis. LEARN MORE ›
Botox gained popularity and notoriety as a wrinkle reducer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But it wasn’t long before researchers recognized the potential of Botox for treating medical conditions, too. Today it’s used to treat problems such as repetitive neck spasms, eye twitching, and overactive bladder. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a preventive treatment option for chronic migraines.
I’ve had migraines since I was 12, but in 2015 my attacks got much worse. Without migraine-specific painkillers, my migraines make me queasy and tired, forcing me to go to bed with a freezing wet towel on my head. For the last two years, I’ve tried different medications, switched birth control pills, made lifestyle changes (less stress, more swimming, no alcohol) — to little avail. My migraines would improve for a while, but then they came back, worse than ever. Then this year, I finally discovered a treatment that works — Botox.
Botulinum toxin has been investigated for use in patients with blepharospasm in several studies. In an open label, historical ly controlled study, 27 patients with essential blepharospasm were injected with 2 Units of BOTOX at each of six sites on each side. Twenty-five of the 27 patients treated with botulinum toxin reported improvement within 48 hours. One patient was controlled with a higher dosage at 13 weeks post initial injection and one patient reported mild improvement but remained functionally impaired.
After Hoffman’s husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 55, his health insurance decided to stop paying for the drug he had taken successfully unless he tried cheaper alternatives. She appealed on behalf of her husband and was eventually able to get approval for the drug, which would have cost them $8,000 a year otherwise. “I felt terrible and I had to fight and it took a long time,” Hoffman tells The Verge. “It caused a lot of anxiety and a lot of these patients don’t have a law professor wife to fight for them.”
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 their upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. Treatment with BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.