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Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulinum toxin effects. These may include asthenia, generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence and breathing difficulties. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening and there have been reports of death. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults treated for spasticity and other conditions, particularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms. In unapproved uses, including spasticity in children, and in approved indications, cases of spread of effect have been reported at doses comparable to those used to treat cervical dystonia and spasticity and at lower doses.
"The cost for a procedure depends on two main factors," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. "First, different products cost different amounts because of the technology that goes into their manufacturing. In addition, the cost depends on the fee of the injector. If you are seeing a sought-after, skilled injector, you may be paying a premium for that treatment. Especially when getting injectable fillers, your treatment is dependent on the skill and aesthetic of your injector. I do not recommend compromising here or purchasing a deal on websites like Groupon."
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).
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According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is to be administered to two sites on each side for a total dose of 20 units across four sites in the cervical paraspinal muscle group near the midline. The first injection site is approximately 1 cm left of the midline of the cervical spine and approximately 3 cm (2 fingerbreadths) inferior to the occipital protuberance. The second site is measured approximately 1 fingerbreadth diagonally up at a 45° angle from the first injection. The injections should be administered in the most superficial aspect of the muscle, angling the needle 45° and superiorly. To aid in the placement of the injections, the patient should be positioned upright with the head in a neutral position. If the neck is flexed too far forward, injections may be too deep. Injections that are too low or too deep in this muscle group can lead to muscle weakness and neck pain. Injectors should use a suboccipital approach to ensure that the injection sites are not too low. In addition, a horizontal line can be visualized across the neck, approximately 2 fingerbreadths down from the occipital protuberance, to make certain the injections remain above the line and are not administered too low in the neck. The higher these injections are, the more likely that they will be in the muscle fascial condensation, which will minimize the potential for neck weakness. These injections should not be done below the hairline. Patients who have trigger points in the neck should not be injected at these sites as these are generally areas where muscles may be weakened and injections of onabotulinumtoxinA at these sites might worsen their neck issues.
Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
BOTOX® can be used on the forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, bunny lines (lines in the nose), chin (for dimpling), skin bands on the neck, and around the mouth (for smoker’s lines and down-turned corners of the mouth). Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity often will not respond to BOTOX®. It is important to re-emphasize that BOTOX® is NOT a facial filler (that is, it does not fill existing wrinkles) – it merely relaxes the muscles that are creating those wrinkles.
Unopened vials of BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C) for up to 36 months. Do not use after the expiration d ate on the vial. Administer BOTOX within 24 hours of reconstitution; during this period reconstituted BOTOX should be stored in a refrigerator (2° to 8°C). Reconstituted BOTOX should be clear, colorless, and free of particulate matter.
In a double-blind study of 123 adults with regular, chronic migraine, the adults receiving botulinum toxin type A experienced fewer migraine attacks each month. In addition, attacks they did experience were less intense, of shorter duration, and required less treatment than adults who did not receive Botox injections for migraine. These injections were also well-tolerated in adults experiencing migraine with and without aura.
The trapezius muscle is a large, triangular, superficial muscle. It attaches proximally in the medial third of the superior nuchal line, external occipital protuberance, nuchal ligament, and spinous processes of the C7-T12 vertebrae. Distal attachment of the trapezius occurs at the lateral third of the clavicle and acromion and spine of the scapula. The action of the muscle includes neck extension and stabilization of the scapula and support for the arm. The muscle fibers proximal to the inflection point of the neck (ie, necklace line) run vertically and are involved with neck extension. According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA to each of three sites on either side of the trapezius, for a total of 30 units divided across six sites, is given. The first injection site can be identified by visually dividing the upper portion of the trapezius muscle in half, from the inflection point of the neck (ie the necklace line) to the acromion (acromio-clavicular joint); the midpoint of this location is where the injection should be administered. The second injection is located at the midpoint of the first injection site and the acromion. The third injection should be administered at the midpoint between the first injection site and the necklace line. Injections should occur in the supraclavicular portion of the muscle, lateral to the neckline, and medial to the deltoid and the acromio-clavicular joint. The injections into the trapezius should be administered horizontally and superficially to avoid injecting too deep.
Injection description is very important. It is best to describe the injections as a pinch rather than a bee sting, and to explain that the injections are shallow, with only a half-inch needle. As a result of the superficial technique used with the injections, deep anticoagulation can be continued. The procedure is short, and talking to the patient during the procedure about something other than the injections can help alleviate the patient’s anxiety. It is important to describe onabotulinumtoxinA as a purified protein rather than a toxin or a poison. In addition, stating that it relaxes muscles rather than causing paralysis will be reassuring to the patient. In a very anxious patient, the areas to be injected can be iced first or a local anesthetic cream can be applied. Starting with the trapezius muscle can also help, as these injections are the least painful, and the patient cannot see the needle. Finally, it is important to make sure the injections are performed with a sharp needle, and blunt needles are discarded. Thirty-gauge needles only remain sharp for six to eight needle sticks each.
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
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.
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.
Last time I went in for my Botox treatment, my doctor asked me if I wanted to try Aimovig. Amgen and Novartis, the two manufacturers, were offering two free injections before I could access the drug through my health insurance. I declined. I didn’t want to start a new treatment that I’ll likely be booted from in a few months because of how expensive it is. Plus, the Botox is working great. I just wish I could have gotten it when I first went to see a migraine specialist, two and half years ago.
When most people see the results of Botox, they are extremely pleased. Botox’s ability to iron out wrinkles is pretty impressive. The fine lines and wrinkles that were all you could see in the mirror appear much less severe and the overall appearance is refreshed and more relaxed and rejuvenated. Botox results typically last up to six months. Botox also acts as a preventative measure for wrinkles, as it prevents repetitive folding of the skin that come from the frequency of making expressions. By injecting Botox before wrinkles even form, you’re setting the stage for a younger look for years to come.
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.
The median duration of response in Study OAB-1 and OAB-2, based on patient qualification for re-treatment, was 19-24 weeks for the BOTOX 100 Unit dose group compared to 13 weeks for placebo. To qualify for re -treatment, at least 12 weeks must have passed since the prior treatment, post-void residual urine volume must have been less than 200 mL and patients must have reported at least 2 urinary incontinence episodes over 3 days.
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.