Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, says that step therapy is driven by a single motivator: saving costs. Hoffman, who’s written about the legal and ethical implications of step therapy, says that sometimes step therapy can have sensible outcomes, like pushing patients to take generics instead of brand-name drugs. But these policies can also keep doctors from prescribing the more expensive drugs of choice, forcing patients to take medications that are less effective or have worse side effects.
I’ve been getting injections for migraine and cervical dystonia for a couple of years. Thank GAWD for Medicaid to cover it. I went 2 days ago for my 12 week appt. The relief was instantaneous. I’ve been under an immense amount of stress due to losing my only child 5 months ago. I’m still alive and virtually headache free. Botulism…who knew?! But…THANK YOU♡
“Most people in their twenties decide to try Botox simply because they want to enhance their appearance, such as relaxing the muscles in their forehead, or because they want to keep their skin looking fresh and young,” Shah says. “Starting earlier is better than later because as the lines get more and more embedded into the skin, Botox is not as effective in eliminating the lines.”

Most practices have a flat cost for each injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic, though some will break it down by “units” used per treatment. Flat rates are usually somewhere between $300 and $1000, while per-unit rates are usually around $10-15 per unit. Though the BOTOX® Cosmetic price paid by physicians is normally about $400 for each vial (each vial contains 100 units, or enough for about 4 or 5 treatments), the vial must be used within a few hours of opening, so if the entire vial is not used, the physician will often have to throw the rest out.

The studies using Botox for depression, like other research into Botox's off-label potential, were so encouraging that they caught the attention of Allergan. In Rosenthal and Finzi's research, 74 people with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive Botox injections or a placebo. Six weeks later, 52% of the people who received Botox experienced a drop in reported symptoms, compared with 15% of the people given a placebo. "Over 50% of people responding is a high number," says Finzi. "These are people who have already tried other treatments, and they are significantly depressed."


Absolutely. Botox (and competitors like Dysport and Xeomin, which will be widely available next January) are highly purified toxins that can temporarily erase or reduce horizontal forehead lines, vertical frown lines, and crow's-feet. "The injections slow muscles that contract hundreds of times a day, eventually etching lines in the skin," says New York City plastic surgeon Michael Kane, author of The Botox Book (St. Martin's Press). Botox can also lift the corners of the mouth that sag with age, smooth out the "pin cushion" look in some chins, soften smoker's lines around the mouth, and soften vertical neck cords.
“Most people in their twenties decide to try Botox simply because they want to enhance their appearance, such as relaxing the muscles in their forehead, or because they want to keep their skin looking fresh and young,” Shah says. “Starting earlier is better than later because as the lines get more and more embedded into the skin, Botox is not as effective in eliminating the lines.”
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide found all over the body, says Dr. Amaal Starling, an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. This neuropeptide attaches to a receptor called a CGRP receptor. CGRP and its receptor are involved in numerous bodily processes—from gastrointestinal movement to the transmission of pain. Over the past few decades, there has been increasing evidence that CGRP plays a role in both migraine and cluster headache. During a migraine attack, researchers have found increased levels of CGRP in patients’ blood and saliva. They discovered migraine medications like sumatriptan reduced levels of CGRP in patients living with migraine. They also found that patients with chronic migraine—meaning 15 or more migraine days per month, eight of which either meet criteria for migraine or are treated with migraine-specific medication—had chronically elevated levels of CGRP. In addition, recent research found that giving a patient with migraine an infusion of CGRP would lead to a migraine-like attack. “All of these studies led to the hypothesis that CGRP and its receptor play a key role in migraine, as well as in cluster headache,” Dr. Starling says.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.

Botox should definitely last longer than a few weeks, but how much longer varies. First time Botox users, for example, might experience Botox wearing off in less than 3 months. However, as facial muscles get conditioned to Botox, results should lengthen. Botox injections around the eyes can also last shorter than 3 months. Men, on the other hand, tend to need more Botox than women. Whatever the case, Botox results should generally last around 3 months, give or take a few days.
Once the protein stops functioning at the neuromuscular junction, it is broken down into its harmless components (amino acids) and either recycled for use in other proteins or excreted by the kidneys. "The bigger the muscle, the quicker you'll see motion return," says Rowe. "Likewise, the smaller the muscle, the longer the effect of botox lasts." It doesn't have a tolerance effect, either—your body never gets used to Botox.

After the injection moves from the dermis and into the desired muscle, the nerves there are blocked—rather, their synapses, are blocked—by the Botox. So even though your brain my fire and signal for your body to move a particular muscle, Botox effectively blocks that firing and keeps the muscle from moving. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften, and also helps prevent new ones from forming.
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.
“We don’t believe Botox is expensive when you look at the value that we provide,” says Marc Forth, senior vice president of US marketing at Allergan, the maker of Botox. Botox halves migraine days in 50 percent of patients who get the injections, Forth says. “We believe that value is worth the tradeoff.” Allergan doesn’t have a say on step therapy policies. Insurers “ultimately make that call on their own,” Forth says.
One glaring example took place over the weekend, when someone on Twitter (TWTR) posted a photograph of an injured police officer, with a caption that he’d been “brutalized” by the migrant caravan on its way to the United States. “These pictures do not capture police officers who were brutalized by members of the immigrant caravan making its way toward the U.S. in October 2018,” Snopes explained.
Beware of Botox injections at a "Botox party" at someone's house. You need to be in a medical setting, where any side effects can be treated immediately. You may not see the final effects of the injections during the party anyway, as they usually take a few days. A Botox party isn't such a bad idea if it's held by a doctor in a medical setting, but even then there's a risk of the doctor's attention being divided between you and the other attendees.
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.
×