That Groupon offer might be tempting, but Dr. Tutela recommends doing a thorough vetting of your practitioner’s history and methods before signing up for treatment. “I think it is important to ask any provider if they perform that procedure frequently, to gauge their experience,” he says. He also suggests to ask if they’ve experienced any major complications and to check their online reviews. “You can get a sense of how you will be treated and what kind of experience other patients have had,” Dr. Tutela says. “Many of those low-cost, high-volume practices are loaded with horrible reviews from disappointed patients.”
Headache is a universal experience. At present, there are more than 100 different types of headache and one of the most recurring ones is migraine, which affects approximately 10-12% of the population, being three times more common in women than in men. When migraine becomes chronic -occurring more than 15 days a month-, it can disrupt patients' daily life in a great degree.
It can also be expensive. Depending on your insurance, it can cost quite a lot of money — I've changed insurance providers since I first started, and my first provider was around $330 a month and charged me around $1,000 per Botox round (remember, that's four times a year). My new plan is much more expensive, around $600 a month, but the Botox copay is only $30 each time, so even if Botox is the only medical procedure I need to have done in the year, it made sense to switch.
The number of headache days determines whether the patient has episodic migraine (EM) (14 or fewer headache days a month) or CM (more than 15 days of headache a month). The best method of determining the actual number of headache days is to subtract this from the number of completely headache-free days in a month. If headache is present on more than half the days in the month, and there are migraine features on at least 8 days a month, the condition is termed CM. The migraine features only have to be present on 8 days out of the month and not on every headache day. The other headache days in this condition are considered to be milder forms of migraine, and they do not have all the typical migraine features. If headache is present on fewer than 15 days a month, this is referred to as EM. EM can transform to CM over time. If analgesics are used on 10 or more days per month, this can lead to a transformation to CM. The patient’s headache pattern over a 12-month period should be determined, and during this time, there should be at least 3 months with 15 headache days; 8 of these days should meet migraine criteria.1-3
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.
Baby Botox can be used pretty much anywhere on your face, but it's best to create subtle changes or to erase fine lines. "Something like this is especially nice for an area like the crow's feet, which is a very delicate area where a subtle treatment is more effective," explains Smith. "If someone has very deep folds, micro Botox probably isn't going to cut it. I would offer this to someone with moderate to fine lines."
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."
Botox is administered by injection and dosing depends on the condition that it is used for. Administration of botulinum toxin with other agents (for example, aminoglycosides, curare) that affect neuromuscular function may increase the effect of botulinum toxin. There are no adequate studies of Botox in pregnant women and it has not been evaluated in nursing mothers.
Although one cannot predict exactly who will respond, I find that those patients who are going to respond will note some improvement in headaches following the first set of injections. Repeat injection sets can be performed on the same patient no sooner than every 3 months, as long as a benefit is seen. Most insurers require that you document at least a 50% improvement in the chronic migraine frequency and/or severity for continued coverage. I usually recommend that my migraine patients have a second set of injections before deciding that this treatment modality is of no benefit to them.
Most practices have a flat cost for each injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic, though some will break it down by “units” used per treatment. Flat rates are usually somewhere between $300 and $1000, while per-unit rates are usually around $10-15 per unit. Though the BOTOX® Cosmetic price paid by physicians is normally about $400 for each vial (each vial contains 100 units, or enough for about 4 or 5 treatments), the vial must be used within a few hours of opening, so if the entire vial is not used, the physician will often have to throw the rest out.
The safe and effective use of BOTOX depends upon proper storage of the product, selection of the correct dose, and proper reconstitution and administration techniques. An understanding of standard electromyographic techniques is also required for treatment of strabismus, upper or lower limb spasticity, and may be useful for the treatment of cervical dystonia. Physicians administering BOTOX must understand the relevant neuromuscular and structural anatomy of the area involved and any alterations to the anatomy due to prior surgical procedures and disease, especially when injecting near the lungs.
"I have treated people with profound migraine headaches and it turns them right off," says Dr. Matarasso. "If you feel it coming on, it stops it, reducing the severity as well as the duration. I had a patient [who was] in college who had unremitting migraine headaches. She changed her diet, she changed her birth-control pill, she had acupuncture. I finally said to the mother, 'We need to try Botox,' and it has been a complete life-changing event for this woman."
Botox is injected in and around the head on an average of every three months. It blocks signals from nerves and paralyzes the muscles, ultimately preventing migraines. It is known to relax the muscles that usually contract during migraines. It’s also the only FDA-approved medication to prevent migraines before they even start! It’s known to prevent about nine migraines per month.
Ophthalmologists specializing in eye muscle disorders (strabismus) had developed the method of EMG-guided injection (using the electromyogram, the electrical signal from an activated muscle, to guide injection) of local anesthetics as a diagnostic technique for evaluating an individual muscle’s contribution to an eye movement. Because strabismus surgery frequently needed repeating, a search was undertaken for non-surgical, injection treatments using various anesthetics, alcohols, enzymes, enzyme blockers, and snake neurotoxins. Finally, inspired by Daniel Drachman’s work with chicks at Johns Hopkins, Alan B Scott and colleagues injected botulinum toxin into monkey extraocular muscles. The result was remarkable: a few picograms induced paralysis that was confined to the target muscle, long in duration, and without side-effects.
Selecting the correct injection points is critical to the success of the procedure. These points are first scored with a marking pencil. Your doctor will likely select numerous injection points for each location to be treated. (These points are located where the muscle contracts — not necessarily at the wrinkle you are hoping to erase.) The Botox filler is then injected into the marked points beneath the skin.
Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines, crow’s feet lines, and/or forehead lines.