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.
Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. Patients can wear makeup immediately but should avoid heavy workouts for 24 hours, says Carruthers.
Two double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multi-center clinical studies were conducted in patients with urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition who were either spontaneously voiding or using catheterization (Studies NDO-1 and NDO-2). A total of 691 spinal cord injury (T1 or below) or multiple sclerosis patients, who had an inadequate response to or were intolerant of at least one anticholinergic medication, were enrolled. These patients were randomized to receive either 200 Units of BOTOX (n=227), 300 Units of BOTOX (n=223), or placebo (n=241).
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases. The active form consists of a two-chain protein composed of a 100-kDa heavy chain polypeptide joined via disulfide bond to a 50-kDa light chain polypeptide. The heavy chain contains domains with several functions: it has the domain responsible for binding specifically to presynaptic nerve terminals, as well as the domain responsible for mediating translocation of the light chain into the cell cytoplasm as the vacuole acidifies. The light chain is a zinc metalloprotease and is the active part of the toxin. It is translocated into the host cell cytoplasm where it cleaves the host protein SNAP-25, a member of the SNARE protein family which is responsible for fusion. The cleaved SNAP-25 is unable to mediate fusion of vesicles with the host cell membrane, thus preventing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings. This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.
The cosmetic benefits came to light in the 1990s by happy coincidence. “The aesthetic indications were purely happenstance,” says board-certified surgeon and clinical professor Seth L. Matarasso, MD, who has been treating his clients with Botox since the 1990s but is not affiliated with the brand. “Dr. [Jean] Carruthers was working with patients with strabismus...[and] with diplopia [double vision], and her patients were coming in and saying, ‘Gee, my wrinkles are better.'" Soon enough, doctors were using Botox for what it is most commonly associated with today — nixing lines.
"As we get older, we lose volume in our face and hyaluronic acid filler can be used as a replacement,” explains Wexler. "For younger women, injections can be used to treat areas with acne scarring or hollowness under the eyes." During your ‘20s, when the face is at its fullest and healthiest, it has been argued that a shadowy gaze can even be quite charming. But in other cases, hereditary dark circles can result in a persistently tired look, which is where a few drops of filler under the eyes may be useful. As top dermatologist David Colbert, M.D. is quick to note, however, too much Botox and filler distorts the face and as a result will make you appear older. “When the line is crossed everyone starts looking like they are related," he also cautions of a uniform cookie-cutter appearance that lacks character or individuality. Or worse. “It’s a snowball effect of people liking something, coming back too soon [for even more], and then it gets too heavy,” adds Wexler.
This medication can spread to other parts of the body after your injection, causing serious (possibly fatal) side effects. These can occur hours or even weeks after the injection. However, the chances of such serious side effects occurring when this medication is used for migraines or skin conditions such as wrinkles, eye spasm, or excessive sweating are extremely unlikely.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.
How does BOTOX work in migraines? The current theory is that BOTOX disrupts the trigeminal nerve terminal end. This leads to down-regulation of the trigeminal nerve cells and suppression of neurotransmitter release in two critical areas: central neuronal glutamate release and peripheral nerve inflammatory-inducing compounds such as CGRP in the cerebral blood vessels.
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In the mid- to late-1990’s dermatologists were the first to report headache relief to migraineurs who were receiving BOTOX injections to reduce facial (forehead) wrinkles. Initially there was significant controversy about whether BOTOX really did help migraine patients. The use of BOTOX for treatment of tension headaches was studied and found to be no more effective than placebo. With migraines, it was more complex. In 2009 the data showed that BOTOX injected in particular areas of the head and neck in patients who met the International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria for chronic migraine provided sufficient benefit to recommend the treatment modality. In 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX for chronic migraine and recommended the protocol of injections and treatment frequency that had been successful in the studies.
As of 2013, botulinum toxin injections are the most common cosmetic operation, with 6.3 million procedures in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Qualifications for Botox injectors vary by county, state and country. Botox cosmetic providers include dermatologists, plastic surgeons, aesthetic spa physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician assistants.
I love talking about migraines. I don't do it to be a downer; I do it because talking about dealing with my chronic migraines may lead to hearing tips from another fellow sufferer, and I've tried nearly everything at this point. I've dealt with migraines for almost two decades, and as anyone who deals with them knows, having a variety of remedies in your toolbox is crucial when the pain hits.
When I wean patients off of treatment, I do not change the dose but rather delay the treatment cycle to 16 weeks and monitor headaches in the last 4 weeks. If the patient remains well-controlled, I increase the treatment window to 20 weeks, and so on. I use this method to establish the level at which patients need reinjection to prevent breakthrough headaches.11-13
The median duration of response in study NDO-1 and NDO-2, based on patient qualification for re-treatment was 295-337 days (4248 weeks) for the 200 Units dose group compared to 96-127 days (13-18 weeks) for placebo. Re-treatment was based on loss of effect on incontinence episode frequency (50% of effect in Study NDO-1; 70% of effect in Study NDO-2).
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.
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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.