Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Botox is so commonplace these days that you can get it done at some gyms and spas, but in these cases, you never know what you’re getting, how old the product is, with what it's mixed, and whether the injector knows what he or she is doing. Dr. Matarasso suggests only getting it done by what he calls the “core four”: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
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Two preparations of botulinum antitoxins are available for treatment of botulism. Trivalent (A,B,E) botulinum antitoxin is derived from equine sources using whole antibodies. The second antitoxin is Heptavalent (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) botulinum antitoxin, which is derived from equine antibodies which have been altered to make them less immunogenic. This antitoxin is effective against all known strains of botulism.
Botulinum toxin injections are one approach to the treatment of muscle spasticity. These injections can be given with ease and have minimal side effects. They can also be used in very focal spasticity problems that involve a few muscle groups. This treatment may not be right for some patients, such as patients with severe, widespread muscle spasticity, and patients with permanent muscle contractures that have become rigid.
Treatment with BOTOX® and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with pre-existing swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a consequence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing (see Boxed Warning).

Many times, effects on spasticity are longer lasting. It is not clear if this is due to breaking down patterned movements (many muscles contracting together rather than singly) or from allowing weak muscles to get stronger over time (that were overpowered before by more spastic muscles pulling against them). It is vital to have close follow-up after the injections to figure out the best course of treatment.


Many people who experience excessive sweating, whether on their hands, hairline, or even under their breasts or butt, are turning to Botox and other neuromodulators (like Xeomin or Dysport). "They help prevent excessive sweating by acting on the sweat glands directly," says NYC board-certified plastic surgeon Z. Paul Lorenc, MD. "The neuromodulator is injected into the sweat glands to relax the muscle and help combat excessive sweating."
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/4 mL or 100 Units/2 mL, with a final concentration of 5 Units per 0.1 mL (see Table 1). The recommended dose for treating chronic migraine is 155 Units ad ministered intramuscularly using a sterile 30-gauge, 0.5 inch needle as 0.1 mL (5 Units) injections per each site. Injections should be divided across 7 specific head/neck muscle areas as specified in the diagrams and Table 2 below. A one inch needle may be needed in the neck region for patients with thick neck muscles. With the exception of the procerus muscle, which should be injected at one site (midline), all muscles should be injected bilaterally with half the number of injection sites administered to the left, and half to the right side of the head and neck. The recommended re-treatment schedule is every 12 weeks.
Botulinum toxin injections are one approach to the treatment of muscle spasticity. These injections can be given with ease and have minimal side effects. They can also be used in very focal spasticity problems that involve a few muscle groups. This treatment may not be right for some patients, such as patients with severe, widespread muscle spasticity, and patients with permanent muscle contractures that have become rigid.
The primary efficacy variable was wrist flexors muscle tone at week 6, as measured by the Ashworth score. The Ashworth Scale is a 5-point scale with grades of 0 [no increase in muscle tone] to 4 [limb rigid in flexion or extension]. It is a clinical measure of the force required to move an extremity around a joint, with a reduction in score clinically representing a reduction in the force need ed to move a joint (i.e., improvement in spasticity).
A concern of both parents and children is whether these injections will be painful. There is no pain linked to the action of the toxin itself, only with the needle injections. To lessen this problem, the skin where the injections will be done is coated with EMLA cream before the procedure . A topical coolant spray is also used right before the needle is put in. This numbs the skin. The child may still feel pressure from the needle and a dull feeling in the muscle. The fact that a child is having a procedure done and is being held in place can upset a child more than the needle going in, even more so for preschool-aged children.

If you find that your Botox wears off really fast, speak to the person who gave you the injections to find out why (i.e. if the Botox was too diluted, not enough was injected, the Botox was old, your anatomy requires a different technique, you might be resistant to Botox, etc). A reputable doctor will work with you to figure out how to make the Botox treatments worth your time and money. Keep in mind that for some people, Botox takes time to kick in - approximately 1-2 days to be noticeable and 1-2 weeks to peak.
With the outbreak of World War II, weaponization of botulinum toxin was investigated at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Carl Lamanna and James Duff[42] developed the concentration and crystallization techniques that Edward J. Schantz used to create the first clinical product. When the Army’s Chemical Corps was disbanded, Schantz moved to the Food Research Institute in Wisconsin, where he manufactured toxin for experimental use and generously provided it to the academic community.
"We were very skeptical," says Edwin Chapman, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, after reading Caleo's study. But in August 2016, Chapman and his graduate student Ewa Bomba-Warczak published a study in the journal Cell Reports showing similar spreading effects in animal cells in the lab. For Chapman, it explained what he was hearing anecdotally from doctors: that Botox might be influencing the central nervous system and not just the area where it's being injected.
Formation of neutralizing antibodies to botulinum toxin type A may reduce the effectiveness of BOTOX treatment by inactivating the biological activity of the toxin. The critical factors for neutralizing antibody formation have not been well characterized. The results from some studies suggest that BOTOX injections at more frequent intervals or at higher doses may lead to greater incidence of antibody formation. The potential for antibody formation may be minimized by injecting with the lowest effective dose given at the longest feasible intervals between injections.
Note: Online coupons or deals for Botox are not recommended because you would be purchasing a medical treatment without knowing if the treatment would be suitable for your skin issues. What you think Botox will fix may not actually be the case, so don't buy something unless you know you are a good candidate for the treatment. It's better to get a Botox consultation first.
There have been reports following administration of BOTOX® of adverse events involving the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, some with fatal outcomes. Some of these patients had risk factors including pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Use caution when administering to patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
Spread of toxin effects.The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
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.
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.

When you choose BOTOX® Cosmetic, you can trust in its established track record. Backed by over 15 years of clinical studies, BOTOX® Cosmetic is the most widely researched and studied treatment of its kind, approved for use in 96 countries. The safety and efficacy of BOTOX® Cosmetic has been described in more than 495 peer-reviewed articles in scientific and medical journals.


"There is a difference in pricing based on the duration of the results," says L.A.-based injection specialist Lisa Goodman. (FYI: She's incredible, and I emphatically recommend seeing her if you're in L.A. or Dara Liotta, MD, if you're in NYC.) "The longer-lasting formulas cost more upfront. Shorter-term fillers can last from six to 11 months based on the patient's rate of aging (i.e., smoking, drinking, sun exposure, genetics), while the longer-term fillers last about one to two years."
That said, there are a few things I'd make sure everyone knows before trying it. For one thing, it can be pretty painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but getting 30 to 40 shots every three months is pretty rough — it feels a bit like getting tattooed with a bee's stinger, but once the needle is out of your skin, the pain goes away, and if it works for you, it's worth it. It's also important to know that it can take some time to work. The first treatment barely worked at all for me, and the second round took a few weeks. If you're going to try it out, be patient.
If you think either of the FDA-approved anti-CGRP treatments might be right for you, speak with your primary health care provider, neurologist or headache specialist. If your medical provider isn’t aware of the treatments, don’t be afraid to let him or her know about them, or ask for a referral to a local neurologist or headache specialist. This is just the first step in advocating for the care that you deserve. To find a headache specialist in your area, consult our Find a Doctor tool. Dr. Starling believes that every person with migraine should be involved in advocacy, in order to bring awareness to the disease and break the stigma that surrounds it. She recommends that patients living with migraine get involved in advocacy organizations, such as our Move Against Migraine support community. You can also attend the annual Headache on the Hill event in which patients and providers go to Capitol Hill asking for more National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding for migraine and other headache disorders. The next Headache on the Hill event is planned for February 11-12, 2019. Within the coming weeks, the American Migraine Foundation will be compiling a guide to all three anti-CGRP treatments. For additional information on anti-CGRP migraine treatment options, consult our doctor-verified resource library.

In the first study, researchers examined a sample of healthy subjects and patients with a diagnosis of migraine -any frequency-, and analysed the presence of trigger points and their location, many of the explorations resulting in a migraine crisis. The most interesting findings of this study were: 95% of migraine sufferers have trigger points, while only 25% of healty subjects have them. The most common locations of trigger points are the anterior temporal and the suboccipital region, both billateral, of the head. Furthermore, researchers found a positive correlation among the number of trigger points in a patient, the number of monthly crises and the duration in years of the condition.


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.
With the outbreak of World War II, weaponization of botulinum toxin was investigated at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Carl Lamanna and James Duff[42] developed the concentration and crystallization techniques that Edward J. Schantz used to create the first clinical product. When the Army’s Chemical Corps was disbanded, Schantz moved to the Food Research Institute in Wisconsin, where he manufactured toxin for experimental use and generously provided it to the academic community.
Serious and/or immediate hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. These reactions include anaphylaxis, serum sickness, urticaria, soft-tissue edema, and dyspnea. If such a reaction occurs, further injection of BOTOX® should be discontinued and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted. One fatal case of anaphylaxis has been reported in which lidocaine was used as the diluent, and consequently the causal agent cannot be reliably determined.
If you find that your Botox wears off really fast, speak to the person who gave you the injections to find out why (i.e. if the Botox was too diluted, not enough was injected, the Botox was old, your anatomy requires a different technique, you might be resistant to Botox, etc). A reputable doctor will work with you to figure out how to make the Botox treatments worth your time and money. Keep in mind that for some people, Botox takes time to kick in - approximately 1-2 days to be noticeable and 1-2 weeks to peak.

Remember that the skill of the injector is extremely important when considering Botox injections. Because Botox can have some very obvious and embarrassing side effects like drooping eyelids, blurry vision, and excessive bruising around the injection site, it's important to consult with an experienced injector. Unlike dermal fillers which can be melted away with a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase, there's not much you can do about a bad Botox experience other than wait it out.
Most insurance providers now cover the expense of Botox injections when they’re used to treat chronic migraines. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance won’t cover the cost of the procedure, it may cost you several thousand dollars. Before you begin receiving injections, talk to your insurance company. In some cases, they may require you to undergo other procedures or tests before they will cover the costs of Botox treatments.

University-based ophthalmologists in the USA and Canada further refined the use of botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent. By 1985, a scientific protocol of injection sites and dosage had been empirically determined for treatment of blepharospasm and strabismus.[76] Side effects in treatment of this condition were deemed to be rare, mild and treatable.[77] The beneficial effects of the injection lasted only 4–6 months. Thus, blepharospasm patients required re-injection two or three times a year.

The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted. Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.

OnabotulinumtoxinA is the only treatment approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of headaches in adult patients with chronic migraine (CM). CM assessment involves a detailed history to rule out secondary sources of headache, establish migraine features, and assess the total number of headache days. In order to diagnose migraine, the patient should have had at least five attacks that involve migraine features, as outlined below. In adults, untreated attacks usually last 4 or more hours.
BTX-A has also been used in the treatment of gummy smiles,[80][81] the material is injected into the hyperactive muscles of upper lip, which causes a reduction in the upward movement of lip thus resulting in a smile with a less exposure of gingiva.[82] Botox is usually injected in the three lip elevator muscles that converge on the lateral side of the ala of the nose; the levator labii superioris (LLS), the levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle (LLSAN), and the zygomaticus minor (ZMi).[83][84]
Postmarketing reports indicate that the effects of BOTOX® 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.

So when I first propositioned my husband about the idea of me getting a bit of Botox for the furrowed brow I've earned from a decade of writing and editing behind a computer screen, he was adamantly against it. And frankly, I was a bit scared too. I mean, isn't Botox poison? As an idealistic 21 year old, it was easy to say that I'd never put that stuff in my body, that "poison." Now, I'm not so sure.

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.
The bacterium can also be found in the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish and in the gills and organs of crabs and other shellfish. Such naturally occurring instances of Clostridium botulinum bacteria and spores are generally harmless. Problems only arise when the spores transform into vegetative cells and the cell population increases. At a certain point, the bacteria begin producing botulinum toxin, the deadly neurotoxin responsible for botulism.
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