The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of BOTOX. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These reactions include: abdominal pain; alopecia, including madarosis; anorexia; brachial plexopathy; denervation/muscle atrophy; diarrhea; hyperhidrosis; hypoacusis; hypoaesthesia; malaise; paresthesia; peripheral neuropathy; radiculopathy; erythema multiforme, dermatitis psoriasiform, and psoriasiform eruption; strabismus; tinnitus; and visual disturbances.
Results can vary depending on who is performing the injection on the patient. It is very important to go to a physician who is experienced at this procedure, does it him- or herself (rather than having a nurse, physician's assistant [PA], or other nonphysician do it), and has a good reputation for performing this type of procedure. The manufacturers of Botox recommend physicians inject the medication themselves. As with most procedures, the skill of the practitioner is related to how often he or she performs the procedure.
Much like other fillers, Botox is slowly metabolized in the system, so for it to remain effective, patients have to get the procedure every three months or so (however, as Ravitz told me during a recent visit, you can't get it done too frequently or your body will develop antibodies). I've now had four additional rounds of Botox since my initial procedure and have learned a lot about how my body reacts to it. Read on for both Ravitz's insight and information about my experience with five rounds of Botox.
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).
30+ year migraine warrior, wife, mother, corporate exec turned health advocate, Paula is Migraine Again Managing Editor and Chief Encouragement Officer. She champions patient's needs as an American Migraine Foundation Board Member, CHAMP Coalition Leader, IHS Patient Advocate and co-author of CaMEO and My Migraine Voice research studies. In addition to hosting the Migraine Again Podcast and producing the Migraine World Summit, Paula is a frequent speaker at industry, health care and public policy events. She's also the Founder and CEO of the World Health Education Foundation, a 501c3. Follow her on LinkedIn or Facebook.
A placebo-controlled, double-blind post-approval 52 week study with BOTOX 100 Units (Study NDO-3) was conducted in non-catheterizing MS patients with urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition. Catheterization for urinary retention was initiated in 15.2% (10/66) of patients following treatment with BOTOX 100 Units versus 2.6% (2/78) on placebo at any time during the complete treatment cycle. The median duration of post-injection catheterization for those who developed urinary retention was 64 days for BOTOX 100 Units and 2 days for placebo.
The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted. Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.
Some doctors and dermatologists recommend lying down and resting after a treatment, but Ravitz says she doesn't think there's any need for downtime unless a patient experiences pain. It can take about two weeks to work, though some patients start to feel relief from chronic migraines sooner than that. Ravitz tells me, "If it’s going to work for a patient, one round of the treatment typically lasts for around three months." Though everybody metabolizes it at a different rate, getting it done every three months or so has been found to be effective.
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.