Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. "It's a poison secreted by the bacteria," plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, M.D., tells SELF. Botulinum toxin has proven to be a successful and valuable therapeutic protein when dosage, frequency of treatment and variety of treated clinical conditions are considered, according to Howard Sobel, M.D., a dermatologist in New York. Basically: when it's done right. When it's done wrong—like, really, really wrong—it can cause "botulism-like symptoms," according to Mayo Clinic, which may include muscle weakness, trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, bladder control issues, and vision problems. That is "very unlikely," but a more than convincing enough reason not to go bargain hunting for Botox.


Side effects from therapeutic use can be much more varied depending on the location of injection and the dose of toxin injected. In general, side effects from therapeutic use can be more serious than those that arise during cosmetic use. These can arise from paralysis of critical muscle groups and can include arrhythmia, heart attack, and in some cases seizures, respiratory arrest, and death.[27] Additionally, side effects which are common in cosmetic use are also common in therapeutic use, including trouble swallowing, muscle weakness, allergic reactions, and flu-like syndromes.[27]
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."
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BOTOX is indicated for the treatment of upper limb spasticity in adult patients, to decrease the severity of increased muscle tone in elbow flexors (biceps), wrist flexors (flexor carpi radialis and flexor carpi ulnaris) , finger flexors (flexor digitorum profundus and flexor digitorum sublimis), and thumb flexors (adductor pollicis and flexor pollicis longus).
In the United States, botulinum toxin products are manufactured by a variety of companies, for both therapeutic and cosmetic use. A U.S. supplier reported in its company materials in 2011 that it could "supply the world's requirements for 25 indications approved by Government agencies around the world" with less than one gram of raw botulinum toxin.[66] Myobloc or Neurobloc, a botulinum toxin type B product, is produced by Solstice Neurosciences, a subsidiary of US WorldMeds. AbobotulinumtoxinA), a therapeutic formulation of the type A toxin manufactured by Galderma in the United Kingdom, is licensed for the treatment of focal dystonias and certain cosmetic uses in the U.S. and other countries.[30]

They affect 39 million folks in the U.S., 4 million of whom deal with daily pain. Chronic migraines can severely inhibit daily life, and when I started to feel like my bad days were outnumbering my good, I knew I needed to find a solution. Botox had been suggested to me multiple times before by friends, family, and doctors, and though it took quite a while to get it approved by insurance and find a provider I trusted, my migraines were making it hard to live a normal life, so I decided to try it out.
"A migraines is an inherited neurological condition that features headaches as the most common symptom," says Robbins. "Headaches are not the only symptoms people can have. They can have sensitivity to the environment around them like light and sound. They can have nausea, which can lead to vomiting. They can have blurred vision. In a minority, but sizable number of people, it can progress to what we call chronic migraines."
Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start, but takes time to work. “I look to the second and third treatments to maximize effects,” says Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld. “Patients see increasing benefit with an increase in the number of treatment cycles.” One treatment lasts for 10-12 weeks, and patients reported that two Botox treatments reduced the number of headache days by approximately 50%.
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).
I asked this question as Ravitz was putting the first needles in my face, which was probably a mistake as I get anxious easily. However, she assured me that the side effects of Botox typically don't happen at the doses prescribed for migraines, and even if the scary-sounding side effects you read about online do occur (such as one-side paralysis and eye droops), they aren't particularly dangerous and last four to six weeks.
As a plastic surgeon, it will never be a major source of income for me, so I choose to make it easy and affordable. We charge $13 per Botox unit. Having said that, though, we have a monthly day of beauty when Botox, facials, and peels are discounted - in the case of Botox, usually to $10 per unit. Currently, because we are welcoming a Nurse Practitioner to our Aesthetic Surgery Center, we are even offering Botox for $7 per unit!

Please note, there are no guaranteed results with BOTOX and results may vary from patients to patient. Though BOTOX is not effective for all types of headaches, about 90% of MRC’s patients report that their migraines are less frequent and not as severe after BOTOX treatment. In clinical trials, patients reported seven to nine fewer headaches per month. In a study by A. H. Elkind, P. O’Carroll, A. Blumenfeld, R. DeGryse, and R. Dimitrova, a standard course of treatment brought patients these results:


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.
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.
On average, each BOTOX treatment requires 32 injections, though individual patients may require fewer or more. You’ll receive injections every twelve weeks, and each session only takes a few minutes. BOTOX begins to work as soon as it’s injected, and you should see full results within a week of your first injections. Most patients who benefit from BOTOX treatments receive five rounds of injections over 15 months. BOTOX is injected using a very fine needle. Most patients describe it as feeling like a tiny pinprick.
"For a senior leadership team that has presided over significant value destruction due in no small part to a series of poorly thought out transactions and unforced errors, entrusting the same leadership team with the task of driving value recovery via further M&A is hardly confidence inspiring in our view, to say nothing of the message it sends to shareholders regarding accountability (or more notably lack thereof)," Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem wrote in a note on Wednesday.
Treatment with BOTOX and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with preexisting swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a conseq uence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing [see Spread Of Toxin Effect].

Jump up ^ Arnon SS, Schechter R, Inglesby TV, Henderson DA, Bartlett JG, Ascher MS, Eitzen E, Fine AD, Hauer J, Layton M, Lillibridge S, Osterholm MT, O'Toole T, Parker G, Perl TM, Russell PK, Swerdlow DL, Tonat K (February 2001). "Botulinum toxin as a biological weapon: medical and public health management". JAMA. 285 (8): 1059–70. doi:10.1001/jama.285.8.1059. PMID 11209178.
Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”

I was lucky. My health insurance only required me to try and fail two other less expensive migraine medications, and it didn’t dictate how long I had to try them for before giving up. Other insurers have stricter rules: Aetna, for example, requires patients to try at least three medications for at least two months each. HealthPartners also requires patients to try and fail three medications, such as beta blockers and antidepressants, without specifying for how long. (Requirements may vary by state and policy.) Because these migraine drugs are designed to treat other conditions like high blood pressure and depression, they can have serious side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty in thinking and speaking clearly.
There are numerous areas where Botox may be used, including the forehead, crow's feet, gummy smile, chin, neck, and other areas of the body. Many of these are under investigation at this time for approval by the FDA. Additionally, topical forms of botulinum toxin (Revance) are under study at present. With time, these will likely come to market and be absorbed into the body of treatments for which Botox is used.
The results usually start to be noticed within three to 10 days or even sooner. They tend to last in most people for up to three or four months. As time passes, the muscle activity will gradually return to normal. Additionally, other areas may return to activity over time, depending on the amount injected. The interesting thing about Botox is that it tends to work fairly well even up to the third month, as a procedure that might last a very short time at full strength and then go away quickly (filler injections such as Restylane, Perlane, or Juvederm tend to last approximately six to 12 months, depending on the amount used).

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.
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).

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.


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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