Andrew M. Blumenfeld is director of The Headache Center of Southern California. Most of his research has focused on the use of OnabotulinumtoxinA in the treatment of chronic migraine. He helped develop the injection paradigm approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and has taught providers around the world on practical aspects of this treatment option.
BOTOX, highly diluted botulinium toxin, works to prevent migraine by blocking the release of a chemical in muscle cells that transmits the signal to contract to muscle fibers. Research into using BOTOX to treat migraines began after patients receiving it for other conditions reported improvement in their migraine symptoms. In 2010, after years of research and collecting clinical data, the FDA approved BOTOX for treating chronic migraines.
The drug has come a long way since its ability to smooth facial wrinkles was first discovered, by accident. In the 1970s, ophthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott started studying the toxin as a therapy for people with a medical condition that rendered them cross-eyed. "Some of these patients that would come would kind of joke and say, 'Oh, Doctor, I've come to get the lines out.' And I would laugh, but I really wasn't tuned in to the practical, and valuable, aspect of that," Scott told CBS in 2012. Scott named the drug Oculinum and formed a company of the same name in 1978. In 1989 he received FDA approval for the treatment of strabismus (the crossed-eye disorder) and abnormal eyelid spasms.
    Some skin care centers advertise low prices for Botox on a "cost per area" basis, advertising prices of $200-$300 for one area. The doctor we spoke to recommends getting price quotes on a "cost per unit" basis, because some places might be quoting lower prices but giving you smaller treatments, which may be less effective and require more frequent visits.
"As we get older, we lose volume in our face and hyaluronic acid filler can be used as a replacement,” explains Wexler. "For younger women, injections can be used to treat areas with acne scarring or hollowness under the eyes." During your ‘20s, when the face is at its fullest and healthiest, it has been argued that a shadowy gaze can even be quite charming. But in other cases, hereditary dark circles can result in a persistently tired look, which is where a few drops of filler under the eyes may be useful. As top dermatologist David Colbert, M.D. is quick to note, however, too much Botox and filler distorts the face and as a result will make you appear older. “When the line is crossed everyone starts looking like they are related," he also cautions of a uniform cookie-cutter appearance that lacks character or individuality. Or worse. “It’s a snowball effect of people liking something, coming back too soon [for even more], and then it gets too heavy,” adds Wexler.
The last thing I've found to be a little frustrating is that my body tends to metabolize the Botox a bit faster than I can get it. While Ravitz tells me I can't get the treatment any more frequently than every three months, because that's the rate at which the body can develop antibodies against it, I find my migraines amping up in frequency again about two to two and a half months after I get the shots. However, given the fact that with the Botox, my migraines have gone down from about four a week to one or two at most, it's absolutely increased my quality of life, and I'm glad I gave it a shot...or 40.

BOTOX was evaluated in two randomized, multi-center, 24-week, 2 injection cycle, placebo-controlled double-blind studies. Study 1 and Study 2 included chronic migraine adults who were not using any concurrent headache prophylaxis, and during a 28 -day baseline period had ≥15 headache days lasting 4 hours or more, with ≥50% being migraine/probable migraine. In both studies, patients were randomized to receive placebo or 155 Units to 195 Units BOTOX injections every 12 weeks for the 2-cycle, double-blind phase. Patients were allowed to use acute headache treatments during the study. BOTOX treatment demonstrated statistically significa nt and clinically meaningful improvements from baseline compared to placebo for key efficacy variables (see Table 24).
Even if Botox's mechanism isn't always well understood and some of its off-label uses are still unproven, interest in the drug isn't likely to wane. "Botox is a big cash cow for the physicians' practices," says Ronny Gal, an investment analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein who has watched the drug closely for more than a decade. "When I talk to physicians, they say, 'Botox is not a problem. It works and gives you the result you want.' If it works for depression and atrial fibrillation, it could be massive."
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Sometimes, because of these policies, patients are put on meds that are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of migraines, like the antidepressant amitriptyline and the high blood pressure drug verapamil. “In my experience, [verapamil is] not very effective,” says Elizabeth Loder, chief of the headache division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the former president of the American Headache Society. For the insurance companies, that doesn’t seem to matter. “It’s frustrating to patients, especially when it seems like some of the treatments that they’re required to try have a lot of side effects and haven’t really been tested that carefully for migraines.”


According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is to be administered to two sites on each side for a total dose of 20 units across four sites in the cervical paraspinal muscle group near the midline. The first injection site is approximately 1 cm left of the midline of the cervical spine and approximately 3 cm (2 fingerbreadths) inferior to the occipital protuberance. The second site is measured approximately 1 fingerbreadth diagonally up at a 45° angle from the first injection. The injections should be administered in the most superficial aspect of the muscle, angling the needle 45° and superiorly. To aid in the placement of the injections, the patient should be positioned upright with the head in a neutral position. If the neck is flexed too far forward, injections may be too deep. Injections that are too low or too deep in this muscle group can lead to muscle weakness and neck pain. Injectors should use a suboccipital approach to ensure that the injection sites are not too low. In addition, a horizontal line can be visualized across the neck, approximately 2 fingerbreadths down from the occipital protuberance, to make certain the injections remain above the line and are not administered too low in the neck. The higher these injections are, the more likely that they will be in the muscle fascial condensation, which will minimize the potential for neck weakness. These injections should not be done below the hairline. Patients who have trigger points in the neck should not be injected at these sites as these are generally areas where muscles may be weakened and injections of onabotulinumtoxinA at these sites might worsen their neck issues.
There are no data on the presence of BOTOX in human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed child, or the effects on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for BOTOX and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from BOTOX or from the underlying maternal conditions.
There are no data on the presence of BOTOX in human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed child, or the effects on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for BOTOX and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from BOTOX or from the underlying maternal conditions.
This is because the discretionary procedures tend to be out of pocket, and providers are used to answering the question: how much does it cost? An MRI, on the other hand, might have several prices: A sticker price, a negotiated or reimbursed rate (what the insurance company pays), the rate that Medicare and Medicaid pay for treatments for people who are older and those who have low income, an out-of-network price, and so on. We know about this because we’ve done pricing surveys for about 35 common procedures in seven U.S. metro areas, collecting cash or self-pay prices for both medically necessary procedures (an MRI, a colonoscopy) and discretionary procedures (Botox, Lasik).

A placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized post-approval 52 week study (Study NDO-3) was conducted in MS patients with urinary incontinence due to neurogenic detrusor overactivity who were not adequately managed with at least one anticholinergic agent and not catheterizing at baseline. These patients were randomized to receive either 100 Units of BOTOX (n=66) or placebo (n=78).
So let's talk about it, shall we? And before we do, let's also get one thing out of the way—I've had Botox. And it was free. As a result, I've found myself trying to field questions about the price and popularity of certain treatments, and many times my knowledge on the subject comes up short. To remedy that fact, I decided to do some research into the real, unexaggerated pricing for injections and what each formula and technique will actually do to your face. Below find the answers you may have been looking for but didn't feel comfortable asking.
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.
Firstly, that is one of the most popular combination of areas for Botox treatment in my office. Like others on this panel, I happen to think the fairest method for charging for Botox is by the unit. Botox can only be purchased through Allergan here in the United States and comes in a 100 unit bottle typically. The only common denominator between offices is how many units of Botox are you... READ MORE
Serious and/or immediate hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. These reactions include anaphylaxis, serum sickness, urticaria, soft tissue edema, and dyspnea. If such a reaction occurs, further injection of BOTOX should be discontinued and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted. One fatal case of anaphylaxis has been reported in which lidocaine was us ed as the diluent, and consequently the causal agent cannot be reliably determined.
Each patient has their own goals for treatment of muscle spasticity made in our clinic. These goals can include decreasing pain from muscle spasms. This can be done by reducing both how often and how intense the spasms are. It can also be done by increasing the range of motion of joints to allow improved function. Improvement of range of motion can help to:
Prevention of contractures begins with finding out what is limiting a child from either actively (moving oneself) or passively (being moved by someone else) moving the joints through a full range of motion. In some cases, this can be due to destruction or abnormality of the bones around a joint. It can also be due to problems with the ligaments and tissue around that joint.
But in a recent Fat Mascara podcast, NYC dermatologist Pat Wexler, MD, said this is a myth. And Dr. Matarasso falls somewhere in-between. “For aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, does a 19-year-old need this? No. Does a 26-year-old need this for aesthetic purposes? Highly doubtful. But, hey, listen, if you are like, ‘I am looking at my parents, I am looking at my genes, and I want to stay proactive,’ it is not unreasonable to introduce it in small amounts.”

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.”

If you undergo Botox treatments for migraines, your doctor will typically administer them once every three months. Depending on your response to Botox, your doctor will recommend a length of time for your treatment plan. Each session will last between 10 and 15 minutes. During the sessions, your doctor will inject multiple doses of the medicine into specific points along the bridge of your nose, your temples, your forehead, the back of your head, your neck, and your upper back.
At the recent American Headache Society meeting in Washington DC, Allergan invested heavily in educating the board-certified headache physicians on the most effective injection sites and methods for Chronic Migraine patients. Find one here. Were I to repeat Botox for Migraine, I would absolutely find one of those Allergan-trained doctors and ask them exactly how many Botox for Migraine procedures they’d done.
Allergan says Botox is well established as a drug and that the benefits and risks of toxins are well understood. "With more than 25 years of real-world clinical experience ... approximately 3,200 articles in scientific and medical journals, marketing authorizations in more than 90 markets and many different indications, Botox and Botox Cosmetic are [among] the most widely researched medicines in the world," an Allergan rep wrote in an emailed statement.
Recently, there has been an emerging trend of “BOTOX® Cosmetic parties,” in which several people gather at a physician’s house or another location to have BOTOX® Cosmetic injections at a lower cost. While prices for treatment may be somewhat lower at a BOTOX® Cosmetic party than for treatment administered during a normal office visit, the situation may not be ideal. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have both issued warnings against such “parties,” as they have reservations about the ability of the physician to provide a safe and sterile environment outside of their office.
In patients who are not catheterizing, post-void residual (PVR) urine volume should be assessed within 2 weeks post-treatment and periodically as medically appropriate up to 12 weeks, particularly in patients with multiple sclerosis or diabetes mellitus. Depending on patient symptoms, institute catheterization if PVR urine volume exceeds 200 mL and continue until PVR falls below 200 mL. Instruct patients to contact their physician if they experience difficulty in voiding as catheterization may be required.
In response to the occurrence of these side effects, in 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the public of the potential dangers of the botulinum toxin as a therapeutic. Namely, they warned that the toxin can spread to areas distant from the site of injection and paralyze unintended muscle groups, especially when used for treating muscle spasticity in children treated for cerebral palsy.[28] In 2009, the FDA announced that boxed warnings would be added to available botulinum toxin products, warning of their ability to spread from the injection site.[29] Additionally, the FDA announced name changes to several botulinum toxin products, meant to emphasize that the products are not interchangeable and require different doses for proper use. Botox and Botox Cosmetic were renamed onabotulinumtoxinA, Myobloc was renamed rimabotulinumtoxinB, and Dysport name renamed abobotulinumtoxinA.[29] In conjunction with this, the FDA issued a communication to health care professionals reiterating the new drug names and the approved uses for each.[30] A similar warning was issued by Health Canada in 2009, warning that botulinum toxin products can spread to other parts of the body.[31]

Patients with diabetes mellitus treated with BOTOX® were more likely to develop urinary retention than nondiabetics. In clinical trials, 12.3% of patients (10/81) with diabetes developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0% of patients (0/69) treated with placebo. In patients without diabetes, 6.3% of patients (33/526) developed urinary retention following treatment with BOTOX® 100 Units vs 0.6% of patients (3/516) treated with placebo.
García Leiva specified that this treatment "is not a first-choice treatment for migraine sufferers, but it can only be applied in patients with chronic migraine who have tried several treatments with poor results, and who show peripheral sensitization of muscles. Recently, the Foods and Drugs Administration (USA) has approved botulinum toxin as a therapeutical drug for the treatment of chronic migraine.
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