In the case of Botox, doctors who experiment off-label say they do so because they're looking for better treatment options for their patients. "In my 30 years of medical practice, Botox is one of the most impactful treatments I had ever seen," says Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, who independently studied Botox for overactive bladder before the FDA approved it for that condition in 2013.
Patients with smaller neck muscle mass and patients who require bilateral injections into the sternocleidomastoid muscle for the treatment of cervical dystonia have been reported to be at greater risk for dysphagia. Limiting the dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle may reduce the occurrence of dysphagia. Injections into the levator scapulae may be associated wit h an increased risk of upper respiratory infection and dysphagia.
In cosmetic applications, botulinum toxin is considered safe and effective for reduction of facial wrinkles, especially in the uppermost third of the face.[23] Injection of botulinum toxin into the muscles under facial wrinkles causes relaxation of those muscles, resulting in the smoothing of the overlying skin.[23] Smoothing of wrinkles is usually visible three days after treatment and is maximally visible two weeks following injection.[23] The treated muscles gradually regain function, and generally return to their former appearance three to four months after treatment.[23] Muscles can be treated repeatedly to maintain the smoothed appearance.[23]
The number of headache days determines whether the patient has episodic migraine (EM) (14 or fewer headache days a month) or CM (more than 15 days of headache a month). The best method of determining the actual number of headache days is to subtract this from the number of completely headache-free days in a month. If headache is present on more than half the days in the month, and there are migraine features on at least 8 days a month, the condition is termed CM. The migraine features only have to be present on 8 days out of the month and not on every headache day. The other headache days in this condition are considered to be milder forms of migraine, and they do not have all the typical migraine features. If headache is present on fewer than 15 days a month, this is referred to as EM. EM can transform to CM over time. If analgesics are used on 10 or more days per month, this can lead to a transformation to CM. The patient’s headache pattern over a 12-month period should be determined, and during this time, there should be at least 3 months with 15 headache days; 8 of these days should meet migraine criteria.1-3
With the outbreak of World War II, weaponization of botulinum toxin was investigated at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Carl Lamanna and James Duff[42] developed the concentration and crystallization techniques that Edward J. Schantz used to create the first clinical product. When the Army’s Chemical Corps was disbanded, Schantz moved to the Food Research Institute in Wisconsin, where he manufactured toxin for experimental use and generously provided it to the academic community.
Bronchitis was reported more frequently as an adverse reaction in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with BOTOX® (3% at 251 Units to 360 Units total dose) compared to placebo (1%). In patients with reduced lung function treated for upper limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were also reported more frequently as adverse reactions in patients treated with BOTOX® (11% at 360 Units total dose; 8% at 240 Units total dose) compared to placebo (6%). In adult patients treated for lower limb spasticity, upper respiratory tract infections were reported more frequently as an adverse event in patients treated with BOTOX® (2% at 300 Units to 400 Units total dose), compared to placebo (1%).
Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups. Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX have not been established for the treatment of spasticity in pediatric patients under age 18 years. BOTOX has not been shown to improve upper extremity functional abilities, or range of motion at a joint affected by a fixed contracture. Treatment with BOTOX is not intended to substitute for usual standard of care rehabilitation regimens.
Two years later, Allergan bought Oculinum for $9 million and changed the drug's name to Botox. At the time, Allergan was primarily an ocular-care company that sold products like contact-lens cleaners and prescription solutions for dry eyes, bringing in about $500 million in annual sales. Allergan says it saw Botox as a drug for a niche population: it's estimated that 4% of people in the U.S. have crossed eyes, for which the drug was initially approved, and Allergan made about $13 million in sales from the drug by the end of 1991.
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.”
Botox is administered by injection and dosing depends on the condition that it is used for. Administration of botulinum toxin with other agents (for example, aminoglycosides, curare) that affect neuromuscular function may increase the effect of botulinum toxin. There are no adequate studies of Botox in pregnant women and it has not been evaluated in nursing mothers.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk).
Individuals with peripheral motor neuropathic diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or neuromuscular junction disorders (eg, 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 onabotulinumtoxinA (see Warnings and Precautions).
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).
In addition to glabellar lines, Botox is used to eradicate crow’s feet, frown lines, and lines and furrows in the forehead. Whereas treating crow's feet and forehead lines with Botox was for many years an off-label use, the toxin has since received FDA approval for both uses. Botox is also approved to treat a variety of medical conditions, including ocular muscle spasms, problems with eye coordination, severe armpit perspiration, migraine headaches, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence related to nerve damage from conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spine injury. Botox is being studied to determine if it might be useful in treating conditions such as knee and hip osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The recommended dilution is 200 Units/4 mL or 100 Units/2 mL, with a final concentration of 5 Units per 0.1 mL (see Table 1). The recommended dose for treating chronic migraine is 155 Units ad ministered intramuscularly using a sterile 30-gauge, 0.5 inch needle as 0.1 mL (5 Units) injections per each site. Injections should be divided across 7 specific head/neck muscle areas as specified in the diagrams and Table 2 below. A one inch needle may be needed in the neck region for patients with thick neck muscles. With the exception of the procerus muscle, which should be injected at one site (midline), all muscles should be injected bilaterally with half the number of injection sites administered to the left, and half to the right side of the head and neck. The recommended re-treatment schedule is every 12 weeks.
After a muscle has been injected, the nerves still send the signal to the muscle to contract, and the acetylcholine is still released, but is unable to bind to the muscle, resulting in a reduction of muscle activity and temporarily preventing contraction of the muscles that cause frown lines. The binding process typically begins within about 48 hours from the time it is injected into the muscle, and results typically become noticeable within 7 to 10 days. While results are often most noticeable in dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that appear when a muscle contracts), it can also help soften wrinkles that are present even without muscle contraction. If you’re serious about improving the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines, it may be just the right treatment option for you.
Other adverse reactions that occurred more frequently in the BOTOX group compared to the placebo group at a frequency less th an 1% and potentially BOTOX related include: vertigo, dry eye, eyelid edema, dysphagia, eye infection, and jaw pain. Severe worsening of migraine requiring hospitalization occurred in approximately 1% of BOTOX treated patients in Study 1 and Study 2, usually within the first week after treatment, compared to 0.3% of placebo-treated patients.

“I see a lot of patients who come in from sun damage, or who have creases in their foreheads, more lines around the sides of their mouths, crow's feet, and wrinkles on the side of their nose,” Shah says. “At this age, a dermatologist can inject Botox in the right places to help train a person’s face to no longer fall into that habit, which can help decrease the odds that they’ll develop permanent wrinkles in those spots later on.”
Baby Botox can be used pretty much anywhere on your face, but it's best to create subtle changes or to erase fine lines. "Something like this is especially nice for an area like the crow's feet, which is a very delicate area where a subtle treatment is more effective," explains Smith. "If someone has very deep folds, micro Botox probably isn't going to cut it. I would offer this to someone with moderate to fine lines."

The migraines started later in life, before my lupus diagnosis. While sometimes they’d come out of the blue or I’d wake up with them, other times I’d see them coming. From a neurologist’s suggestion, I learned some of my “triggers” such as weather changes (specifically, drops in barometric pressure and incoming storms), hormonal changes and dairy. This past year I significantly reduced my dairy intake and although that didn’t eliminate the migraines, if I did eat dairy, I was sure to get one. Many of my migraines would also start as tension headaches. My neck is always extremely tight and eventually the constant tightness causes a migraine. Due to this, my old rheumatologist suggested taking a muscle relaxer at the beginning of a headache or before bed to keep my muscles from tensing up overnight and preventing a migraine. It worked sometimes… but definitely not enough.

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).
The cost for Botox may range from $125 to $400 per treatment area. Multiple areas may be treated at one time, and repeat treatments are needed every three to four months, on average. When it comes to Botox and other injectables, you get what you pay for. Buyer beware: bargain Botox may increase your risk of complications, including poor cosmetic results. If the cost is prohibitive, ask your doctor about payment plans.
I had a consult and the doctor quickly realized that I was a candidate for Botox. He ordered an MRI and doppler of my brain to make sure everything else was A-OK, and then the rest was just waiting on my insurance company. With Botox (I’m not sure if it’s all Botox or just prescription), the insurance company orders it from a pharmacy and sends it to the doctor.
Botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum is the cause of botulism.[9] Humans most commonly ingest the toxin from eating improperly-canned foods in which C. botulinum has grown. However, the toxin can also be introduced through an infected wound. In infants, the bacteria can sometimes grow in the intestines and produce botulinum toxin within the intestine and can cause a condition known as floppy baby syndrome.[32] In all cases, the toxin can then spread, blocking nerves and muscle function. In severe cases, the toxin can block nerves controlling the respiratory system or heart, resulting in death.[1] Botulism can be difficult to diagnose, as it may appear similar to diseases such as Guillain–Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and stroke. Other tests, such as brain scan and spinal fluid examination, may help to rule out other causes. If the symptoms of botulism are diagnosed early, various treatments can be administered. In an effort to remove contaminated food which remains in the gut, enemas or induced vomiting may be used.[33] For wound infections, infected material may be removed surgically.[33] Botulinum antitoxin is available and may be used to prevent the worsening of symptoms, though it will not reverse existing nerve damage. In severe cases, mechanical respiration may be used to support patients suffering from respiratory failure.[33] The nerve damage heals over time, generally over weeks to months.[4] With proper treatment, the case fatality rate for botulinum poisoning can be greatly reduced.[33]
The cosmetic benefits came to light in the 1990s by happy coincidence. “The aesthetic indications were purely happenstance,” says board-certified surgeon and clinical professor Seth L. Matarasso, MD, who has been treating his clients with Botox since the 1990s but is not affiliated with the brand. “Dr. [Jean] Carruthers was working with patients with strabismus...[and] with diplopia [double vision], and her patients were coming in and saying, ‘Gee, my wrinkles are better.'" Soon enough, doctors were using Botox for what it is most commonly associated with today — nixing lines.
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.”

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.
Most insurance providers now cover the expense of Botox injections when they’re used to treat chronic migraines. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance won’t cover the cost of the procedure, it may cost you several thousand dollars. Before you begin receiving injections, talk to your insurance company. In some cases, they may require you to undergo other procedures or tests before they will cover the costs of Botox treatments.
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.”
Our advice: if you’re going to try it, don’t give up on Botox for Migraine after the first try, and reconsider whether you’re a good candidate after three tries. Both Drs. Jackson and Kornel noted that there was a large placebo effect seen in many of the studies. “It’s hard to know if most of the benefit was from the drug or from the placebo effect,” said Jackson, who added, “but, patients don’t care if it’s a placebo effect.”

The ideal needle to use is a 30G or 31G, half-inch needle. Longer needles are problematic as they encourage deeper injections, which can increase the risk of muscle weakness, and most of the side effects such as neck pain stem from muscle weakness. Perseverative-free normal saline is the only diluent that should be used. There is a case study of a patient who died when onabotulinumtoxinA was mixed with a local anesthetic agent. The pivotal trial established an effective dose using 2 mL/100 units of onabotulinumtoxinA. A fact that is often overlooked is that the mean dose in the trial was 165 units. The patients all received 155 units with a fixed dose, fixed-site injection protocol, and an option of an additional 40 units to follow the pain. This resulted in a mean dose of 165 units, which is the standard that should be used to achieve the efficacy results reviewed above.
Study 2 compared 3 doses of BOTOX with placebo and included 91 patients [BOTOX 360 Units (N=21), BOTOX 180 Units (N=23), BOTOX 90 Units (N=21), and placebo (N=26)] with upper limb spasticity (expanded Ashworth score of at least 2 for elbow flexor tone and at least 3 for wrist flexor tone) who were at least 6 weeks post-stroke. BOTOX and placebo were injected with EMG guidance into the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum sublimis, flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, and bic eps brachii (see Table 27).
Can you use Botox under your eyes? Botox is often used to treat lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Can it also reduce dark circles or bags under the eyes? Using Botox under the eyes is not approved in the U.S. and researchers are unsure how well it may work and what side effects may occur. Here, learn about the procedure and its alternatives. Read now
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