As you noted in your question, the effects of Botox don't last forever. For some patients the short term effects of Botox are a ‘good thing,’ as it means that trying Botox is a relatively low risk/low commitment procedure. If you don't like your Botox results, there's not much to worry about: They will fade on their own in a few months. Generally speaking, the results last between three to five months -- but the duration of the Botox effect depends on the individual and on how many Botox units were used.
Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
Hoffman’s husband’s experience is not unusual. Once a patient gets the more expensive prescription, health insurance providers can still try and push them back to cheaper drugs. Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Loder says that most health insurance companies stop paying for Botox if it’s not reducing a patient’s migraines by at least 50 percent. “It’s important to keep careful headache diaries and keep careful notes in order to be able to prove to the insurance company that the treatment is worth it,” Loder says. “You’re not home free once they approve it.”
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.
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."
Some doctors, however, say their experience with their own patients indicates Botox — which was approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat migraines — is quite effective for this purpose. Lawrence Newman, MD, a neurologist and director of the headache division at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, says many of his patients have experienced a significant decline in the number of headaches per month after receiving Botox. In many cases, he says, it has cut down that number by 50% and frequently more than that.
Robert Anolik, a board-certified, cosmetic dermatologist explains, "The cost for these types of treatments is widely variable, as every patient needs different amounts and in different areas. It could be a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. For example, a patient may have deepened nasolabial folds (smile lines) requiring multiple syringes of Restylane Defyne. Or a patient could need a subtle lift with a small amount of Restylane-Lyft in the cheeks and mid-face. I find many of my patients will come in consistently for Dysport (Dysport spreads out a bit more, so you're able to get a better global balancing, whereas Botox has a little more of an isolated effect) every three to four months on average, and then we will review what might be needed among the fillers. Often more syringes of filler may be needed at first and then we can maintain over time."
Other things to know about Botox treatments: Some providers charge a consultation fee, which is waived if you choose to proceed with the injections but charged if you decline. Also, who is doing the injection? Make sure it’s a trained, certified professional. As in many other things, training and credentials are important. In some practices, a junior employee may perform the procedure for a lesser rate. Make sure that’s what you want.
In general, the initial effect of the injections is seen within three days and reaches a peak at one to two weeks post-treatment. Each treatment lasts approximately three months, following which the procedure can be repeated. At repeat treatment sessions, the dose may be increased up to two-fold if the response from the initial treatment is considered insufficient, usually defined as an effect that does not last longer than two months. However, there appears to be little benefit obtainable from injecting more than 5 Units per site. Some tolerance may be found when BOTOX is used in treating blepharospasm if treatments are given any more frequently than every three months, and is rare to have the effect be permanent.
For blepharospasm, reconstituted BOTOX is injected using a sterile, 27-30 gauge needle without electromyographic guidance. The initial recommended dose is 1.25 Units-2.5 Units (0.05 mL to 0.1 mL volume at each site) injected into the medial and lateral pre tarsal orbicularis oculi of the upper lid and into the lateral pre-tarsal orbicularis oculi of the lower lid. Avoiding injection near the levator palpebrae superioris may reduce the complication of ptosis. Avoiding medial lower lid injections, and thereby reducin g diffusion into the inferior oblique, may reduce the complication of diplopia. Ecchymosis occurs easily in the soft eyelid tissues. This can be prevented by applying pressure at the injection site immediately after the injection.
In general, you’ll find that Botox costs about $10-$20 per unit. While some offices and clinics charge a flat rate, depending on the area that they’re working on, you’ll more often find that you are charged based on how many units of Botox are used to achieve the results you’re looking for. You need around 20 units to treat your forehead and 5-6 units to treat crows feet, making Botox an affordable alternative to going under the knife.
Autonomic dysreflexia in patients treated for overactive bladder due to neurologic disease. Autonomic dysreflexia associated with intradetrusor injections of BOTOX® could occur in patients treated for detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and may require prompt medical therapy. In clinical trials, the incidence of autonomic dysreflexia was greater in patients treated with BOTOX® 200 Units compared with placebo (1.5% versus 0.4%, respectively).