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.
After working out techniques for freeze-drying, buffering with albumin, and assuring sterility, potency, and safety, Scott applied to the FDA for investigational drug use, and began manufacturing botulinum type A neurotoxin in his San Francisco lab. He injected the first strabismus patients in 1977, reported its clinical utility in 1980,[47] and had soon trained hundreds of ophthalmologists in EMG-guided injection of the drug he named Oculinum ("eye aligner").
The ideal needle to use is a 30G or 31G, half-inch needle. Longer needles are problematic as they encourage deeper injections, which can increase the risk of muscle weakness, and most of the side effects such as neck pain stem from muscle weakness. Perseverative-free normal saline is the only diluent that should be used. There is a case study of a patient who died when onabotulinumtoxinA was mixed with a local anesthetic agent. The pivotal trial established an effective dose using 2 mL/100 units of onabotulinumtoxinA. A fact that is often overlooked is that the mean dose in the trial was 165 units. The patients all received 155 units with a fixed dose, fixed-site injection protocol, and an option of an additional 40 units to follow the pain. This resulted in a mean dose of 165 units, which is the standard that should be used to achieve the efficacy results reviewed above.
Scientists at the University of Granada have confirmed that injecting a local anesthetic or botulinum toxin (botox) into certain points named "trigger points" of the pericraneal and neck muscles reduce migraine frequency among migraine sufferers. University of Granada researchers have identified the location of these trigger points -which activation results in migraine- and their relationship with the duration and severity of this condition.
In a study to evaluate inadvertent peribladder administration, bladder stones were observed in 1 of 4 mal e monkeys that were injected with a total of 6.8 Units/kg divided into the prostatic urethra and proximal rectum (single administration). No bladder stones were observed in male or female monkeys following injection of up to 36 Units/kg (~12X the highest human bladder dose) directly to the bladder as either single or 4 repeat dose injections or in female rats for single injections up to 100 Units/kg (~33X the highest human bladder dose).

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.

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In this study the median total BOTOX dose in patients randomized to receive BOTOX (N=88) was 236 Units, with 25th to 75th percentile ranges of 198 Units to 300 Units. Of these 88 patients, most received injections to 3 or 4 muscles; 38 received in jections to 3 muscles, 28 to 4 muscles, 5 to 5 muscles, and 5 to 2 muscles. The dose was divided amongst the affected muscles in quantities shown in Table 36. The total dose and muscles selected were tailored to meet individual patient needs.
The toxin itself is released from the bacterium as a single chain, then becomes activated when cleaved by its own proteases.[11] 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.[35] 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.[1][35] 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.[1] This blockage is slowly reversed as the toxin loses activity and the SNARE proteins are slowly regenerated by the affected cell.[1]
The seven toxin types (A-G) have different tertiary structures and sequence differences.[35][36] While the different toxin types all target members of the SNARE family, different toxin types target different SNARE family members.[34] The A, B, and E serotypes cause human botulism, with the activities of types A and B enduring longest in vivo (from several weeks to months).[35]
Each vial of BOTOX contains either 50 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.25 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.45 mg of sodium chloride; 100 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.5 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.9 mg of sodium chloride; or 200 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 1 mg of Albumin Human, and 1.8 mg of sodium chloride in a sterile, vacuum-dried form without a preservative.
On July 29, 2016, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of the United States of America approved abobotulinumtoxinA for injection for the treatment of lower limb spasticity in pediatric patients two years of age and older.[20] AbobotulinumtoxinA is the first and only FDA-approved botulinum toxin for the treatment of pediatric lower limb spasticity. In the United States of America, the FDA approves the text of the labels of prescription medicines. The FDA approves which medical conditions the drug manufacturer may sell the drug for. However, those approved by the FDA to prescribe these drugs may freely prescribe them for any condition they wish, called off-label use. Botulinum toxins have been used off-label for several pediatric conditions, including infantile esotropia.[21]
I don’t know what’s harder, being a mom or living with migraine. Having both can be overwhelming. Over the years, as a stay-at-home mom of two and chronic migraine fighter, I have learned to adapt my life and my children’s lives to migraine. I alter my family’s schedule around my children’s naps, meals and moods, while also keeping in mind my migraine attacks, sensitivities, triggers and abilities.

Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.” Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary. Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/2 mL, 200 Units/4 mL, 100 Units/1 mL, or 100 Units/2 mL with preservative-free 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP, depending on volume and number of injection sites desired to achieve treatment objectives (see Table 1). In general, no more than 50 Units per site should be administered using a sterile needle (e.g., 25-30 gauge) of an appropriate length. Localization of the involved muscles with electromyographic guidance may be useful.
Botox treatments can help reduce symptoms of migraine headaches, including nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells. After you receive Botox injections, it may take as long as 10 to 14 days for you to experience relief. In some cases, you may not experience any relief from your symptoms following your first set of injections. Additional treatments may prove more effective.
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 1986, Scott's micromanufacturer and distributor of Botox was no longer able to supply the drug because of an inability to obtain product liability insurance. Patients became desperate, as supplies of Botox were gradually consumed, forcing him to abandon patients who would have been due for their next injection. For a period of four months, American blepharospasm patients had to arrange to have their injections performed by participating doctors at Canadian eye centers until the liability issues could be resolved.[48]
Patients with smaller neck muscle mass and patients who require bilateral injections into the sternocleidomastoid muscle for the treatment of cervical dystonia have been reported to be at greater risk for dysphagia. Limiting the dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle may reduce the occurrence of dysphagia. Injections into the levator scapulae may be associated wit h an increased risk of upper respiratory infection and dysphagia.
A recent encounter with one of my headache patients got me thinking. I am treating this young woman for chronic migraine with BOTOX injections. She told me that one of her other physicians had been surprised to hear about this use for onabotulinumtoxin A. According to my patient, the gastroenterologist’s words were, “BOTOX for migraines? I’ve never heard of that.” 

Dr. Schwedt believes ARMR offers hope for patients living with migraine. “ARMR data could lead to breakthroughs in the field,” he says. One hope for ARMR is that it will contribute to the ability for health care providers to use precision medicine to treat their patients. Clinical trials show which migraine therapies are overall effective for groups of people with migraine; however, health care providers are still working to understand which specific therapy is ideal for a particular patient. “One of the challenges we have in this field right now is being able to determine which exact therapy is going to be best for which patient,” Dr. Schwedt says. “For example, we might know that about 50% of patients will benefit from a specific migraine preventive therapy, but we don’t know in advance which 50% that is. I believe the data we’re collecting in ARMR is going to help us get to the stage where we can practice precision medicine, knowing which therapy is most likely to help an individual patient prior to the patient starting that therapy.”

Therefore, it is important to remember that if a clinic or medical spa states that they are providing Botox at a certain dollar amount per unit, it is quite possible that they are diluting the Botox and actually not providing the agreed-upon amount. This is much like the concept of a watered-down drink at a bar, but the costs are much larger when it comes to Botox or its alternatives, Dysport and Xeomin.


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The 5-unit dose that is injected at each site is a very low dose. Earlier studies with total dosing below 155 units failed to show separation from placebo. As a result, I encourage all patients to get a minimum of 155 units, even if they have a small frame. The optional component of the injection paradigm is the 40 units that are used for following the pain sites. The pain sites are the temporalis, occipitalis, and trapezius. These can be held if the injector is concerned. I do not reduce the dose below 155 units as lower doses have not separated from placebo, and thus I may not achieve an adequate headache effect with a lower dose. In fact, most of the time I increase the dose to at least 165 units, as this was the mean dose in the PREEMPT trials. I inject 5 units behind each ear for a bilateral headache and 5 units in two sites behind one ear in a side-locked headache.
In both studies, significant improvements compared to placebo in the primary efficacy variable of change from baseline in daily frequency of urinary incontinence episodes were observed for BOTOX 100 Units at the primary time point of week 1 2. Significant improvements compared to placebo were also observed for the secondary efficacy variables of daily frequency of micturition episodes and volume voided per micturition. These primary and secondary variables are shown in Tables 19 and 20, and Figures 5 and 6.

The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 30 injections of 1 mL (~6.7 Units) each (total volume of 30 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal s aline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, the saline used for bladder wall visualization should be drained. The patient should be observed for at least 30 minutes post -injection.
Chapman and Bomba-Warczak both think Botox is safe when used correctly, but they say their inboxes quickly filled with messages after their study was published. "We were startled by the number of people who feel they were harmed by these toxins," says Chapman. "We feel these were pretty safe agents. Now it seems that for some people, they believe the toxin can sometimes cause something that may be irreversible. And that's a total mystery."
Alternatively, bruising could occur, though is less likely, says Rowe, especially in the hands of an experienced doctor. While he says it's "dumb luck" whether or not one bruises from an injection, he also notes that good technique helps reduce the chances. Sobel says that "if you inject [the needle with Botox] too deep, very often you can hit a blood vessel and bruise." What you do after the injection can also make a difference: Take care not to rub or massage the treated areas, as this can cause the toxin to migrate.
Botox is best known for smoothing out wrinkles, but since 2010 it’s also been used to prevent migraines. (Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why Botox works, though it may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.) Though the 36 injections I get every three months in my forehead, skull, neck, and shoulders are painful, they’ve been a game changer. I went from 16 to 18 migraines a month to about eight. The intensity of the pain has gone down, too. The results are so good that I find myself frustrated that I spent so many years in unnecessary misery.

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.[44] 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,[45] Alan B Scott and colleagues injected botulinum toxin into monkey extraocular muscles.[46] The result was remarkable: a few picograms induced paralysis that was confined to the target muscle, long in duration, and without side-effects.


In clinical trials, 30.6% of patients (33/108) who were not using clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) prior to injection, required catheterization for urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 200 Units as compared to 6.7% of patients (7/104) treated with placebo. The median duration of post-injection catheterization for these patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units (n = 33) was 289 days (minimum 1 day to maximum 530 days) as compared to a median duration of 358 days (minimum 2 days to maximum 379 days) for patients receiving placebo (n = 7).
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