Dubbed as the “little neurotoxin that could,” by USA Today, Botox now boasts sales of well over $1 billion for its manufacturer, Allergan. Many of us who start to see our migraine-furrowed forehead lines show up in our 30s think: hey, maybe Botox for migraine could help me too. But before you say “heck yes!” at the next Botox party or med-spa, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
An injection of BOTOX is prepared by drawing into an appropriately sized sterile syringe an amount of the properly reconstituted toxin slightly greater than the intended dose. Air bubbles in the syringe barrel are expelled and the syringe is attached to an appropriate injection needle. Patency of the needle should be confirmed. A new, sterile needle and syringe should be used to enter the vial on each occasion for removal of BOTOX.
Just because not every cosmetic Botox procedure is FDA-approved doesn't mean it's not safe and effective, if done properly. Off-label procedures are still within the standard of care, and there are tons of them. “There are so many non-FDA-approved applications for Botox,” says dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. “It can be used to decrease scalp-sweating (which helps prolong blowouts), correct a droopy nasal tip (called nasal-tip ptosis), fix brow asymmetry, minimize bunny lines from wrinkling your nose, decrease skin oiliness, minimize the appearance of pores...” The list goes on and on.
Botulinum toxin is a purified substance that's derived from bacteria. Injections of botulinum toxin block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. Without a signal, the muscle is not able to contract. The end result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles or appearance. Commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin®.
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.
How does BOTOX work in migraines? The current theory is that BOTOX disrupts the trigeminal nerve terminal end. This leads to down-regulation of the trigeminal nerve cells and suppression of neurotransmitter release in two critical areas: central neuronal glutamate release and peripheral nerve inflammatory-inducing compounds such as CGRP in the cerebral blood vessels.
The efficacy of BOTOX for the treatment of upper limb spasticity was evaluated in three randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (Studies 1, 2, and 3). Two additional randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies for upper limb spasticity in adults also included the evaluation of the efficacy of BOTOX for the treatment of thumb spasticity (Studies 4 and 5).

Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or neuromuscular junction disorders (e. g., myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome) should be monitored when given botulinum toxin. Patients with neuromuscular disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant effects including generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphonia, dysarthria, severe dysphagia and respiratory compromise from therapeutic doses of BOTOX [see Dysphagia And Breathing Difficulties].
Not a Botox patient? Listen anyway. This is good practice for asking the price for other medical procedures like an MRI or a colonoscopy, where the information can be much harder to get. The common replies you could get: “What’s your insurance?” “We can’t tell you because it depends on your deductible.” “We don’t know.” “You’ll have to call billing.”
Besides the three primary U.S. manufacturers, there are numerous other botulinum toxin producers. Xeomin, manufactured in Germany by Merz, is also available for both therapeutic and cosmetic use in the U.S.[67] Lanzhou Institute of Biological Products in China manufactures a BTX-A product; as of 2014 it was the only BTX-A approved in China.[67] BTX-A is also sold as Lantox and Prosigne on the global market.[68] Neuronox, a BTX-A product, was introduced by Medy-Tox Inc. of South Korea in 2009;[69]
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 by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take aspirin-like products or blood thinners.
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