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A follow-up visit is most often scheduled at around three months after injection. The team will determine if it was helpful and if the effect is wearing off. The effect on muscle spasticity by botulinum toxin is temporary and can last for up to three to five months. This also varies with the amount of toxin injected, the size of the muscle, the degree of spasticity in the muscle, and treatment such as therapy and bracing.
Richard Clark, a plastic surgeon from Sacramento (CA), was the first to document a cosmetic use for botulinum toxin. He treated forehead asymmetry caused by left sided forehead nerve paralysis that occurred during a cosmetic facelift. Since the injured nerve could possibly regenerate by 24 months, a two-year waiting period was necessary before definitive surgical treatment could be done. Clark realized that botulinum toxin, which had been previously used only for cross eyed babies and facial tics, could also be injected to smooth the wrinkles of the right forehead to match her paralyzed left. He received FDA approval for this cosmetic application of the toxin and successfully treated the person and published the case study in 1989.
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.
BOTOX, highly diluted botulinium toxin, works to prevent migraine by blocking the release of a chemical in muscle cells that transmits the signal to contract to muscle fibers. Research into using BOTOX to treat migraines began after patients receiving it for other conditions reported improvement in their migraine symptoms. In 2010, after years of research and collecting clinical data, the FDA approved BOTOX for treating chronic migraines.
I tell my patients that it is not the total price that is important, but how many units are used. For instance, if a patient goes to a spa and pays $150 per area, that may sound like a great deal. However, when the patient ask how long the treatment is supposed to last, the spa responds "2 months". I have seen that many of those less expensive treatments often consist of around 10 units (and therefore carrying a "non-deal" $15 cost per unit!). So, what initially looks like a great bargain, is in fact just a treatment with an inadequate amount of Botox. Always ask your injector how many units they are using, so you can determine what price/unit you are getting. Experienced injectors know that there is no such thing as a standard amount of units, as everyone's facial anatomy and muscular strengths are variable, even from one side of the face to the other.
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.”
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.