Botox for migraines has been something that has flown under the radar, as many people know Botox as a procedure simply aimed at hiding fine lines. We turned to Matthew S. Robbins, MD, director of inpatient services at Montefiore Headache Center and the chief of neurology at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital, Montefiore, to break down the procedure for us. Scroll down to see what he has to say.
Preventative Botox has been getting lots of buzz. “It can potentially have a preventive effect on dynamic wrinkles, which are caused by underlying muscle movement,” Shah explains. “That being said, muscle movement is only one factor that contributes to the development of wrinkles, so Botox may not be completely preventive.” (Some other wrinkle causes: sun exposure, smoking, and diet.)
Make sure your practitioner is very experienced at Botox injections and is a respected medical professional. A salon stylist, for example, is not an appropriate person to administer Botox, because he or she would not have emergency equipment or sufficient medical knowledge if something went wrong. Some disreputable people have reportedly administered injections that were over- or under-diluted with saline, as well as counterfeit solutions that didn't contain Botox at all.
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Both Aetna and HealthPartners tell The Verge in an email that they don’t require patients to try verapamil specifically. “Verapamil is just one of many options available to treat migraines. Some are FDA-approved, others are not,” says Becca Johnson, a spokesperson for HealthPartners. Patients are required to try other oral medications because they’re either cheaper or not as invasive as getting Botox injections. “The rationale is that these medications are generally effective and safe,” says Ethan Slavin, a spokesperson for Aetna.
“Most people in their twenties decide to try Botox simply because they want to enhance their appearance, such as relaxing the muscles in their forehead, or because they want to keep their skin looking fresh and young,” Shah says. “Starting earlier is better than later because as the lines get more and more embedded into the skin, Botox is not as effective in eliminating the lines.”
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.”
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.
On July 7, 2015, the company acquired the rights to the late stage CGRP migraine portfolio of Merck & Co, as well as two experimental drugs (MK-1602 and MK-8031) for an upfront payment of $250 million.[12] On August 10, the company acquired Oculeve for $125 million.[13] On August 31, the company acquired Naurex for an upfront payment of $560 million.[14] On October 19, the company acquired AqueSys, developer of ocular implants that reduce intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, for an initial payment of $300 million.[15] On October 1, the company acquired Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, a company focused on the medical aesthetics market, for $2.1 billion.[16] On November 4 the company announced the acquisition of Northwood Medical Innovation, developer of earFold, a medical device to correct protruding ears.[17] On November 25, 2015, the company announced it would partner with Rugen Therapeutic to develop new therapies for autism spectrum disorder, rabies and obsessive compulsive disorder.[18]

If you have eyelid drooping after a Botox procedure, it is a good idea to let the cosmetic surgeon know because there is a medicine available to help this condition. Any other difficulties, such as difficulty breathing or rashes, should be reported to the surgeon immediately. Bruises are generally gone within one to two weeks, there are other medications available for the treatment of these, such as vitamin K topical treatments (Dr. Holmquist Healthcare CytoActive Post-Procedural Bruise Relief, Revision Skincare Vitamin K Serum, Clinicians Complex Bruise Cream, Glymed Plus Arnica+ Healing Cream).
Galli has been living with migraine for most of her adult life, but recently, her attacks became more severe and frequent. “My whole life went upside down and nothing was the same,” Galli says, upon being diagnosed with chronic migraine. “The person I used to be wasn't there anymore. I didn't even recognize myself.” To cope with the symptoms that often accompany chronic migraine, Galli found herself retreating to a dark room, waiting for the pain to pass, but it never did. In response, Galli says, she asked herself what she could do to feel better but also share her story. “Everyone around me that knew how high energy, and how much of a go-getter I am, asked what was happening? Where was that person?” When she came across the announcement of the Migraine Moment Film Contest, she saw it as her opportunity to bring awareness about what it is like to live with migraine and bust the misconceptions surrounding this invisible disease. Enter: “Invisible Hero.”
The most frequently reported adverse reactions following injection of BOTOX for adult lower limb spasticity appear in Table 17. Two hundred thirty one patients enrolled in a double-blind placebo controlled study (Study 6) received 300 Units to 400 Units of BOTOX, and were compared with 233 patients who received placebo. Patients were followed for an average of 91 days after injection.
On April 6, 2016, the company announced it would partner with Heptares Therapeutics in a deal valued up to $3.3 billion to collaborate on the development of a subtype-selective muscarinic agonists for Alzheimer's disease and other major neurological disorders.[21] On April 21, the company announced the acquisition of Topokine Therapeutics for at least $85 million, gaining the phase IIb/III compound XAF5 - a treatment for dermatochalasis.[22] On August 2, the company sold its generic drugs business to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $33.4 billion and 100.3 million shares of Teva.[23] On August 11, the company announced the acquisition of ForSight VISION5 for more than $95 million.[24] On September 6, the company acquired RetroSense Therapeutics for more than $60 million, gaining the positive photosensitivity gene therapy treatment, RST-001. RST-001 is to be used in retinas in which rod and cone photoreceptors have degenerated over time, causing in increase in the sensitivity of light hitting the retina.[25] On September 20, the company announced the acquisition of Tobira Therapeutics for $1.695 billion[26] and, a day later, the acquisition of Akarna Therapeutics for $50 million.[27] On October 3, the company sold Anda, its generic drug distribution business, to Teva for $500 million.[28] On October 25, the company acquired Vitae Pharmaceuticals, focused on dermatology treatments, for $639 million.[29] On October 27, the company announced it would acquire Motus Therapeutics, a developer of treatments for gastrointestinal disorders, for $200 million.[30] On November 22, 2016, the company acquired Chase Pharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $125 million.[31]

Botox for migraines has been something that has flown under the radar, as many people know Botox as a procedure simply aimed at hiding fine lines. We turned to Matthew S. Robbins, MD, director of inpatient services at Montefiore Headache Center and the chief of neurology at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital, Montefiore, to break down the procedure for us. Scroll down to see what he has to say.
So when I first propositioned my husband about the idea of me getting a bit of Botox for the furrowed brow I've earned from a decade of writing and editing behind a computer screen, he was adamantly against it. And frankly, I was a bit scared too. I mean, isn't Botox poison? As an idealistic 21 year old, it was easy to say that I'd never put that stuff in my body, that "poison." Now, I'm not so sure.
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®.
Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about three to twelve months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Postmarketing safety data from BOTOX and other approved botulinum toxins suggest that botulinum toxin effects may, in some cases, be observed beyond the site of local injection. The symptoms are consistent with the mechanism of action of botulinum toxin and may include asthenia, generalized muscle weakness, diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia, dysarthria, urinary incontinence, and breathing difficulties. These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injection. Swallowing and breathing difficulti es can be life threatening and there have been reports of death related to spread of toxin effects. The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults treated for spasticity and other conditions, and partic ularly in those patients who have an underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms. In unapproved uses, including spasticity in children, and in approved indications, symptoms consistent with spread of toxin effect have been reported at do ses comparable to or lower than doses used to treat cervical dystonia and spasticity. Patients or caregivers should be advised to seek immediate medical care if swallowing, speech or respiratory disorders occur.
Of 1242 overactive bladder patients in placebo-controlled clinical studies of BOTOX, 41.4% (n=514) were 65 years of age or older, and 14.7% (n=182) were 75 years of age or older. Adverse reactions of UTI and urinary retention were more common in patients 65 years of age or older in both placebo and BOTOX groups compared to younger patients (see Table 18). Otherwise, there were no overall differences in the safety profile following BOTOX treatment between patients aged 65 years and older compared to youn ger patients in these studies.
Unremarkable. I mean, that’s a good thing in the MRI-reading world, but I’d like to say my brain is freakin’ remarkable sometimes. Maybe I’m biased. Anyways. Shortly after those tests, the Botox arrived at the office and I was scheduled for my injections. To say I was scared is putting it lightly. Like I mentioned before, I have a complete irrational fear of new medication. Also, I didn’t want my face to look different! So I documented my wrinkles just to see how many would last (if you want, be my guest to check out my embarrassing video). I didn’t have to wait long and before I knew it, I was in a room with my mom, my boyfriend, a neurologist and three needles.
Botox is so commonplace these days that you can get it done at some gyms and spas, but in these cases, you never know what you’re getting, how old the product is, with what it's mixed, and whether the injector knows what he or she is doing. Dr. Matarasso suggests only getting it done by what he calls the “core four”: a board-certified physician who is either a dermatologist, a plastic surgeon, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, or an ophthalmologist.
If the musculature of the oropharynx and esophagus are affected, aspiration may occur which may lead to development of aspira tion pneumonia. If the respiratory muscles become paralyzed or sufficiently weakened, intubation and assisted respiration may be necessary until recovery takes place. Supportive care could involve the need for a tracheostomy and/or prolonged mechanical ventilation, in addition to other general supportive care.

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.


Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about three to twelve months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Botox is said to decrease the frequency of migraine days by an average of 50 percent for those who suffer chronically (people who experience 15 or more headache days per month). After going through hell with my insurance to get approval, I scheduled an appointment with New York City neurologist and pain-management specialist Risa Ravitz. She was kind enough to speak with me about the wonders of Botox while we did my first procedure in June 2017.
The trapezius muscle is a large, triangular, superficial muscle. It attaches proximally in the medial third of the superior nuchal line, external occipital protuberance, nuchal ligament, and spinous processes of the C7-T12 vertebrae. Distal attachment of the trapezius occurs at the lateral third of the clavicle and acromion and spine of the scapula. The action of the muscle includes neck extension and stabilization of the scapula and support for the arm. The muscle fibers proximal to the inflection point of the neck (ie, necklace line) run vertically and are involved with neck extension. According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, one injection of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA to each of three sites on either side of the trapezius, for a total of 30 units divided across six sites, is given. The first injection site can be identified by visually dividing the upper portion of the trapezius muscle in half, from the inflection point of the neck (ie the necklace line) to the acromion (acromio-clavicular joint); the midpoint of this location is where the injection should be administered. The second injection is located at the midpoint of the first injection site and the acromion. The third injection should be administered at the midpoint between the first injection site and the necklace line. Injections should occur in the supraclavicular portion of the muscle, lateral to the neckline, and medial to the deltoid and the acromio-clavicular joint. The injections into the trapezius should be administered horizontally and superficially to avoid injecting too deep.

Dr. Starling says the FDA approval indicates that the anti-CGRP treatments are ideal for individuals with episodic migraine who have four to 14 headache days per month, and people with chronic migraine who have 15 or more headache days per month. Clinical trials are also being conducted to see if anti-CGRP antibodies are effective for the treatment of cluster headache. “The initial studies have demonstrated that it’s likely effective for cluster headache patients,” Dr. Starling says. The FDA’s approval of these medications has been incredibly meaningful for the migraine community. “The migraine community is feeling like they’re relevant—that they’re being seen, heard and taken seriously,” Dr. Starling says. “There are many people who are working hard to develop more treatment options until we can address every patient who has migraine, and eventually find a cure.”


In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
The median duration of response in study NDO-3, based on patient qualification for re-treatment was 362 days (52 weeks) for the BOTOX 100 Units dose group compared to 88 days (13 weeks) for placebo. To qualify for re-treatment, at least 12 weeks must have passed since the prior treatment, post-void residual urine volume must have been less than 200 mL and patients must have reported at least 2 urinary incontinence episodes over 3 days with no more than 1 incontinence -free day.
During a recent therapy session, one of Dr. Norman Rosenthal's regulars said he was considering suicide. It wasn't the first time the patient had entertained the thought, and even though he was on antidepressants and always kept up with his appointments, Rosenthal, a licensed psychiatrist with a private practice in North Bethesda, Md., wanted to offer his patient something else.
The following adverse reactions with BOTOX 200 Units were reported at any time following initial injection and prior to re -injection or study exit (median duration of exposure was 44 weeks): urinary tract infections (49%), urinary retention (17%), constipation (4%), muscular weakness (4%), dysuria (4%), fall (3%), gait disturbance (3%), and muscle spasm (2%).
Unlike some resurfacing or surgical procedures, after which there is possible pigmentation or scarring, when Botox is done correctly, it can be done on all skin tones. “This is a procedure [and] product that crosses all divides,” says Dr. Matarasso. “Men, women, Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Indian. I don’t think there is a demographic that has not enjoyed the benefit of this product.”
Safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® have not been established for the treatment of other upper or lower limb muscle groups or 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.
The needle should be inserted approximately 2 mm into the detrusor, and 20 injections of 0.5 mL each (total volume of 10 mL) should be spaced approximately 1 cm apart (see Figure 1). For the final injection, approximately 1 mL of sterile normal saline should be injected so that the remaining BOTOX in the needle is delivered to the bladder. After the injections are given, patients shou ld demonstrate their ability to void prior to leaving the clinic. The patient should be obser ved for at least 30 minutes post-injection and until a spontaneous void has occurred.

The seven toxin types (A-G) have different tertiary structures and sequence differences.[35][36] While the different toxin types all target members of the SNARE family, different toxin types target different SNARE family members.[34] The A, B, and E serotypes cause human botulism, with the activities of types A and B enduring longest in vivo (from several weeks to months).[35]


Dr. Matarasso says hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t see a patient with a botched Botox job. Why? People are getting it done by unexperienced, often unlicensed, practitioners who don’t know the shape of the face and how to correctly administer the toxin. “I just had a patient come in the other day who went to an ER doctor, and one that went to a psychiatrist,” he says. “They [also] have these Botox parties and I have seen scarring, significant bruising, not only functional, but aesthetic complications.” 

That said, there are a few things I'd make sure everyone knows before trying it. For one thing, it can be pretty painful. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but getting 30 to 40 shots every three months is pretty rough — it feels a bit like getting tattooed with a bee's stinger, but once the needle is out of your skin, the pain goes away, and if it works for you, it's worth it. It's also important to know that it can take some time to work. The first treatment barely worked at all for me, and the second round took a few weeks. If you're going to try it out, be patient.
I had no idea my health insurance could take Botox away from me. I checked Cigna’s policy and found out that in order to continue receiving Botox coverage after one year, I need to get at least seven fewer migraine days — or at least 100 fewer migraine hours — per month compared to pre-Botox treatments. (I keep a diary to record when I have migraines.) Worse still, if I were to change my job — and therefore change my health insurance — my new insurance could ask me to run through the cheap medication gauntlet again before covering Botox.
How much is Botox is a frequent question we get in our dermatology offices. The cost of Botox runs typically about $400 – $600 per first treatment area, and up to $300 for each additional area. The most popular areas for Botox treatment are the glabella (those lines in between your eyebrows also known as the “11’s”), the crow’s feet are around the eyes and the horizontal lines on the forehead. When injected by a trained professional who has experience with facial aesthetics, Botox can also give the brows and eye area a mini eye lift. When Botox injections are performed by a trained, licensed and experienced medical expert, the results can be amazing. You will not appear frozen or as though you’ve had work done, when injected properly, Botox makes you look more relaxed, more rejuvenated and just better than before. It’s important to seek out a professional who knows about facial anatomy and can inject you in the exact right places.
Dosing in initial and sequential treatment sessions should be tailored to the individual patient based on the patient’s head and neck position, localization of pain, muscle hypertrophy, patient response, and adverse event history. The initial dose for a patie nt without prior use of BOTOX should be at a lower dose, with subsequent dosing adjusted based on individual response. Limiting the total dose injected into the sternocleidomastoid muscle to 100 Units or less may decrease the occurrence of dysphagia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
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In some practices, the cost of the actual product determines the price, but in others, "The cost of the treatment is based on the skill set, not the product," says Day. In other words, seeing a trained aesthetic physician, who has the time and technique to give you tailored, micro injections, might actually be more costly than larger, more formulaic doses.

Some service providers offer financing options to make the procedure affordable. The Botox Cosmetic product is eligible for the Brilliant Distinctions Program that helps the members through savings, rebates, bonus points, and other perks. But there are also some providers with their own rebate program that gives a discount on the next procedure by 10% to 25%. Coupons are available in forms of discount, promo or free service for loyal customers. Also, a large volume of Botox used in the treatment, there is a possibility to avail discounted price of the Botox per unit.
The safety and effectiveness of BOTOX® for hyperhidrosis in other body areas have not been established. Weakness of hand muscles and blepharoptosis may occur in patients who receive BOTOX® for palmar hyperhidrosis and facial hyperhidrosis, respectively. Patients should be evaluated for potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis (eg, hyperthyroidism) to avoid symptomatic treatment of hyperhidrosis without the diagnosis and/or treatment of the underlying disease.
When most people see the results of Botox, they are extremely pleased. Botox’s ability to iron out wrinkles is pretty impressive. The fine lines and wrinkles that were all you could see in the mirror appear much less severe and the overall appearance is refreshed and more relaxed and rejuvenated. Botox results typically last up to six months. Botox also acts as a preventative measure for wrinkles, as it prevents repetitive folding of the skin that come from the frequency of making expressions. By injecting Botox before wrinkles even form, you’re setting the stage for a younger look for years to come.
The cost of a Botox treatment is usually communicated as a flat cost, but can also be measured in individual injectable units. Each unit usually costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $15, but prices vary between geographic areas and between individual clinics. How many units are needed per treatment will depend on which areas of your face are being treated, and on your individual facial anatomy.

According to Ravitz, it's very effective among a large sampling of her patients and is usually very well tolerated. She says some of her patients find that it even eliminates the need for medication, which is a huge deal. However, she also says, "About 7 to 10 percent of my patients find that it’s not effective and they actually feel worse during that time." As with any medical procedure, everybody (and everyone's actual body) is different and will respond to treatment differently, and it's best to do a healthy amount of research and thoroughly talk to your doctor about your body and medical history before making a decision.
After the injections, the patient will usually lay upright or semiupright on the exam table for about two to five minutes to make sure he or she feels good after the procedure, and then the patient should avoid lying down for two to four hours. If bruising is a concern, it will be important for the patient to avoid taking aspirin or related products, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), if possible after the procedure to keep bruising to a minimum.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study in adult patients with detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition and restrictive lung disease of neuromuscular etiology [defined as FVC 50-80% of predicted value in patients with spinal cord injury between C5 and C8, or MS] the event rate in change of Forced Vital Capacity ≥15% or ≥20% was generally greater in patients treated with BOTOX than in patients treated with placebo (see Table 6).
Patients should shave underarms and abstain from use of over-the-counter deodorants or antiperspirants for 24 hours prior to the test. Patient should be resting comfortably without exercise, hot drinks for approximately 30 minutes prior to the test. Dry the underarm area and then immediately paint it with iodine solution. Allow the area to dry, then lightly sprinkle the area with starch powder. Gently blow off any excess starch powder. The hyperhidrotic area will develop a deep blue-black color over approximately 10 minutes.
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.
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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