In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
Botox (also known as Vistabel outside the U.S. and the U.K.) is an injection that temporarily relaxes facial muscles to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as prevent new lines from forming. Common injection sites include the forehead, the area between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, and the sides of the chin. Botox can also be used for a wide variety of other conditions, including migraines, excessive sweating, and psoriasis. LEARN MORE ›
So what exactly are you putting into your face? John Paul Tutela, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, explains, “Botox is a cosmetic injectable neurotoxin that is a very diluted form of Botulinum Toxin, which is found in the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In this diluted format, it is used to relax your muscles—typically in your forehead, in between your eyebrows, and around your eyes.” The idea is that if you temporarily block local nerve impulses to specific muscles within your face, you won’t make certain facial expressions, so you won’t form the wrinkles that come with them, explains dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD. These are the 7 signs you’re ready for Botox? (And 6 signs you aren’t.)
Tell your doctor if you have received any other botulinum toxin product in the last 4 months; have received injections of botulinum toxin such as Myobloc®, Dysport®, or Xeomin® in the past (tell your doctor exactly which product you received); have recently received an antibiotic injection; take muscle relaxants; take allergy or cold medicines; take sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
"In the majority of these cases, it's the doctors at the front line who start using Botox off-label, and then we see the treatment of things we never expected the toxin to work for," says Min Dong, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who studies botulinum toxins in the lab and has no financial ties to Allergan. "I meet with physicians who are using the toxin everywhere--for diseases you would never know about."
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.
As anyone who’s tried Botox for Migraine (or wrinkle reduction) will tell you, your forehead feels heavier after the injections are done, where the nerve endings are in essence frozen. As in ‘Frozen Face.’  Little to no movement, depending on how many units you receive and where they are injected. In my case, my usually expressive face didn’t track with my emotions: no raised eyebrows of surprise or delight or shock.
BOTOX may be an effective treatment for those who suffer from chronic migraines. Many patients have struggled to find a treatment that truly provides relief from this debilitating condition. While there are migraine medications and a host of natural remedies, for many people, none of these methods bring real relief. BOTOX may be the option that brings the relief from pain that patients have been seeking for so long.
It's safe to say that the mouth is the clearest giveaway of work done too early. Youthful lips tend to have substantial volume and turn up naturally at the corners, meaning the best strategy for flattering them often comes down to a good signature lip color. For women who remain self conscious about the size or symmetry of their lips—think a slightly lopsided appearance, for instance—Botox can be injected into the orbicularis oris muscle along the lip line as an alternative to lip fillers. "When certain individuals smile, the lip flips in and they lose that upper volume," says Dara Liotta, a New York City-based plastic and cosmetic surgeon. "This relaxes the outer layers of the circular muscle around the lips and looks much more natural than filler." Additionally, injections along the jawline—or more specifically, the masseter muscle—have risen in popularity to relieve stress-induced jaw clenching and have also been known to refine the area. "A lot of people hold tension in the jaw area and when you relax that muscle, the chin comes out of the shadow of your lower lip,” explains Liotta. But the best advice of all? Forget about those self-perceived imperfections and smile. You're only in your '20s once.

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.
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.”

I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
The primary release procedure for BOTOX uses a cell-based potency assay to determine the potency relative to a reference standard. The assay is specific to Allergan's products BOTOX and BOTOX Cosmetic. One Unit of BOTOX corresponds to the calculated median intraperitoneal lethal dose (LD50) in mice. Due to specific details of this assay such as the vehicle, dilution scheme, and laboratory protocols, Units of biological activity of BOTOX cannot be compared to nor converted into Units of any other botulinum toxin or any toxin assessed with any other specific assay method. The specific activity of BOTOX is approximately 20 Units/nanogram of neurotoxin protein complex.
I increase the dose at each treatment cycle to 195 units. This is based on experience with patients with cervical dystonia, in whom higher doses result in a longer duration of effect. In addition, I transition to the next onabotulinumtoxinA treatment at 12 weeks by using occipital and trigeminal nerve blocks at 10 weeks. Most insurance companies will not cover onabotulinumtoxinA treatments earlier than 12 weeks, but in rare cases, 10-week cycles have been approved.
Receiving Botox injections for migraines is a straightforward outpatient procedure. The skin in the area to be injected is cleaned. Most injections are administered in the forehead area, usually above the eyes or where “worry lines” might occur. Because this area may be sensitive or patients may be experiencing hypersensitivity to pain, a topical anesthetic may be applied before the injection.
Warnings and Precautions: In patients using LUMIGAN® (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) or other prostaglandin analogs for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), the concomitant use of LATISSE® may interfere with the desired reduction in IOP. Patients using prostaglandin analogs including LUMIGAN® for IOP reduction should only use LATISSE® after consulting with their physician and should be monitored for changes to their intraocular pressure.

Marrying ophthalmology to dermatology, Jean and Alistair Carruthers observed that blepharospasm patients who received injections around the eyes and upper face also enjoyed diminished facial glabellar lines (“frown lines” between the eyebrows), thereby initiating the highly-popular cosmetic use of the toxin.[52] Brin, and a group at Columbia University under Monte Keen made similar reports.[53] In 2002, following clinical trials, the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic, botulinum A toxin to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe glabellar lines.[54] The FDA approved a fully in vitro assay for use in the stability and potency testing of Botox in response to increasing public concern that LD50 testing was required for each batch sold in the market.[55][56]
Other treatment areas that have been proven to be useful include the scalp (for migraine headaches), neck, facial and peripheral muscles (for spasms), arm pits (to inhibit sweating), the bladder and numerous other areas. The way that Botox and Dysport work is that they temporarily inhibit muscle contraction beneath the skin. When underlying muscles are relaxed the overlying folds and wrinkles are smoothed out. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers and Botox or Dysport injections are not interchangeable. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers are not interchangeable with Botox or Dysport injections. Fillers replace or “fill-in” lost facial volume whereas Botox or Dysport only inhibit muscle contraction.Both treatments are in fact complimentary aesthetic injections that will relax wrinkles and folds and help you regain your youthful appearance and enhance your face.
But it could be something else altogether. In 2008, Matteo Caleo, a researcher at the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, published a controversial study showing that when he injected the muscles of rats with Botox, he found evidence of the drug in the brain stem. He also injected Botox into one side of the brain in mice and found that it spread to the opposite side. That suggested the toxin could access the nervous system and the brain.
A randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the treatment of cervical dystonia was conducted. This study enrolled adult patients with cervical dystonia and a history of having received BOTOX in an open label manner with perceived good response and tolerable side effects. Patients were excluded if they had previously received surgical or other denervation tre atment for their symptoms or had a known history of neuromuscular disorder. Subjects participated in an open label enrichment period where they received their previously employed dose of BOTOX. Only patients who were again perceived as showing a response were advanced to the randomized evaluation period. The muscles in which the blinded study agent injections we re to be administered were determined on an individual patient basis.
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]
Severe side effects are very rare but can happen if the botulinum toxin unexpectedly spreads throughout the body from the site of the shots. This can cause muscle weakness, hoarseness or trouble talking, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids. The breathing and swallowing problems can be life-threatening. If this happens, seek medical attention right away.
There have been spontaneous reports of death, sometimes associated with dysphagia, pneumonia, and/or other significant debility or anaphylaxis, after treatment with botulinum toxin. There have also been reports of adverse events involving the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmia and myocardial infarction, some with fatal outcomes. Some of these patients had risk factors including cardiovascular disease. The exact relationship of these events to the botulinum toxin injection has not been established.
Dr. Engelman says preventative is legit. “Most certainly! I do micro-injections on patients who are just starting to show the finest expression lines in order to prevent them from ever making the wrinkle." NYC-based board-certified plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, MD, is also a fan. "While Botox has a fundamental use in treating wrinkles that are already formed, it has a role in the prophylactic, or prevention, of wrinkles. So, don't think that you don't need Botox because you don't have wrinkles. If you want to keep that smooth skin, start with Botox before they form."
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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