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.
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In 2010, Allergan pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $600 million to resolve allegations that it unlawfully promoted Botox for conditions--including headaches, pain, spasticity and juvenile cerebral palsy--that at the time were not approved by the FDA. In one of the complaints, prosecutors said that Allergan "illegally, vigorously and without any thought to the possible negative health effects to which it subjected patients, promoted off-label uses of Botox." The U.S. Department of Justice also argued that Allergan exploited on-label uses for cervical dystonia--a disorder characterized by extreme neck-muscle contractions--to "grow off-label pain and headache sales." Prosecutors also argued that Allergan paid doctors to give presentations and trainings to other physicians about Botox uses that at the time were off-label.
The cost of Botox injections varies widely, with most clinics in the United States charging between $9 and $20 per unit. The variation in cost can be influenced by a number of factors, including the location of the clinic or medspa, and the reputation and expertise of the injector. For example, board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in administering Botox and dermal fillers are likely to charge more because they generally guarantee better results. That is not to say, however, that injectors charging $10 per unit aren’t capable of delivering excellent results as well, but there is far less risk of any complications arising when you choose an injector who has been board-certified. It is always the smartest, safest way to proceed with any cosmetic enhancement.

Please note, there are no guaranteed results with BOTOX and results may vary from patients to patient. Though BOTOX is not effective for all types of headaches, about 90% of MRC’s patients report that their migraines are less frequent and not as severe after BOTOX treatment. In clinical trials, patients reported seven to nine fewer headaches per month. In a study by A. H. Elkind, P. O’Carroll, A. Blumenfeld, R. DeGryse, and R. Dimitrova, a standard course of treatment brought patients these results:
Are you ready to put your best face forward, but fear that Botox and other “lunchtime facelifts” are out of your budget? Are you wondering, “How much does Botox cost?” You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that some of the most popular and effective cosmetic treatments available are well within reach. A quick word of warning, though: If the prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. The products may be diluted or the treatment provider inexperienced. It’s worth spending a little extra time and money to get the results that you’re dreaming about!
Botox can be bought by essentially any person with a DEA certificate. Allergan sells it in 50 and 100 unit vials. They are shipped overnight delivery on dry ice to keep the toxin effective it should be opened, reconstituted and used the same day ideally. The Botox will work best this way. Price points will change by who the injector is and what their motives are. Botox can be reconstituted so that you getting a very dilute amount of product. So a by the area approach may really only give you a small amount of product. Or you could be getting old Botox that is a week old and will not last for very long.
In study 2, 320 adults with bilateral axillary primary hyperhidrosis were randomized to receive either 50 Units of BOTOX (n=2 42) or placebo (n=78). Treatment responders were defined as subjects showing at least a 50% reduction from baseline in axillary sweating measured by gravimetric measurement at 4 weeks. At week 4 post-injection, the percentages of responders were 91% (219/242) in the BOTOX group and 36% (28/78) in the placebo group, p<0.001. The difference in percentage of responders between BOTOX and placebo was 55% (95% CI=43.3, 65.9).

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.
Now, thanks in large part to off-label use, Botox--the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph--is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal's patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug's unique characteristics as much as the drug industry's unique strategies for creating a blockbuster.
Alternatively, bruising could occur, though is less likely, says Rowe, especially in the hands of an experienced doctor. While he says it's "dumb luck" whether or not one bruises from an injection, he also notes that good technique helps reduce the chances. Sobel says that "if you inject [the needle with Botox] too deep, very often you can hit a blood vessel and bruise." What you do after the injection can also make a difference: Take care not to rub or massage the treated areas, as this can cause the toxin to migrate.
"In the majority of these cases, it's the doctors at the front line who start using Botox off-label, and then we see the treatment of things we never expected the toxin to work for," says Min Dong, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who studies botulinum toxins in the lab and has no financial ties to Allergan. "I meet with physicians who are using the toxin everywhere--for diseases you would never know about."

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.


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.
Each vial of BOTOX contains either 50 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.25 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.45 mg of sodium chloride; 100 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 0.5 mg of Albumin Human, and 0.9 mg of sodium chloride; or 200 Units of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex, 1 mg of Albumin Human, and 1.8 mg of sodium chloride in a sterile, vacuum-dried form without a preservative.
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.
But today it's the medical uses of the drug that are the great moneymaker, in part because doctors are getting a better handle on how to use it. Botulinum toxin type A is one of seven neurotoxins produced from Clostridium botulinum. Contracting botulism is bad news: it can cause blurred vision, persistent trouble swallowing and worse. In one recent case, close to 30 people were hospitalized in Ohio in 2015 after attending a church potluck. One person died. The outbreak was ultimately attributed to a potato salad made from improperly home-canned potatoes that were harboring the bacteria. Given its level of toxicity, some countries have even explored its potential use as a bioweapon.
Vials of BOTOX have a holographic film on the vial label that contains the name “Allergan” within horizontal lines of rainbow color. In order to see the hologram, rotate the vial back and forth between your fin gers under a desk lamp or fluorescent light source. (Note: the holographic film on the label is absent in the date/lot area.) If you do not see the lines of rainbow color or the name “Allergan”, do not use the product and contact Allergan for additional information at 1-800-890-4345 from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM Pacific Time.
Not much. Results begin to show in a couple of days and develop gradually over the course of two weeks. "I tell anyone preparing for a big event to have shots two weeks ahead of time," says Kane. Some observers believe Dysport sets in faster than Botox, but that has not been proven in a study. Patients taking medications that contain aspirin or NSAIDs can develop pinpoint blue bruising. Patients can wear makeup immediately but should avoid heavy workouts for 24 hours, says Carruthers.
When BOTOX was administered intramuscularly to pregnant rats (0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 4, or 8 Units/kg) or rabbits (0.063, 0.125 , 0.25, or 0.5 Units/kg) daily during the period of organogenesis (total of 12 doses in rats, 13 doses in rabbits), reduced fetal body weights and decreased fetal skeletal ossification were observed at the two highest doses in rats and at the highest dose in rabbit s. These doses were also associated with significant maternal toxicity, including abortions, early deliveries, and maternal death. The developmen tal no-effect doses in these studies of 1 Unit/kg in rats and 0.25 Units/kg in rabbits are less than the human dose of 400 Units, based on Units/kg.
Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.” Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary. Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of lower limb spasticity was evaluated in Study 6, a randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Study 6 included 468 post-stroke patients (233 BOTOX and 235 placebo) with ankle spasticity (modified Ashworth Scale ankle score of at least 3) who were at least 3 months post-stroke. A total dose of 300 Units of BOTOX or placebo were injected intramuscularly and divided between the gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior, with optional injection into the flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, flexor digitorum brevis, extensor hallucis, and rectus femoris (see Table 33) with up to an additional 100 Units (400 Units total dose). The use of electromyographic guidance or nerve stimulation was required to assist in proper muscle localization for injections. Patients were followed for 12 weeks.
It's a remarkable arc for a drug that only a few years ago was associated with Hollywood cocktail parties where guests came for Bellinis and left with a forehead full of Botox injections. It highlights the advances that can occur when physicians, seeking new therapies for their patients, explore creative new uses for approved drugs--basically, real-world experiments that take place largely beyond the reach of federal regulators. That, in turn, raises questions about the risks of deploying medicines in ways that have not been fully vetted. But it happens all the time.
Who is injecting your Botox? Injecting Botox is deceptively easy. After all, it looks like the nurse or physician just takes a little fluid and squirts into facial muscles, and Walla ! Perfection! The answer is No! You should choose a specialist with years of experience and the ability to assess your facial features to create the best treatment plan possible. Because when Botox is injected in the wrong place it can produce unwanted side-effects that you might find disturbing. For instance if the injector “chases” a wrinkle across your forehead and it happens to be too close to your central eyebrow then the Botox or Dysport can drift downward inhibiting a muscle that lifts your eyelid resulting in a drooped upper eyelid. I know you don’t want that! Or if the practitioner injects only your “11” frown lines between your brows and does not inject other areas of your brow to balance out the effect then you may get a “boomerang”brow – a “Spock”-like overarched  brow that looks hideous. So like everything else experience counts but more experience usually translates into a more expensive treatment sessions. However, avoiding complications can save you money and aggravation in the long run.

Other treatment areas that have been proven to be useful include the scalp (for migraine headaches), neck, facial and peripheral muscles (for spasms), arm pits (to inhibit sweating), the bladder and numerous other areas. The way that Botox and Dysport work is that they temporarily inhibit muscle contraction beneath the skin. When underlying muscles are relaxed the overlying folds and wrinkles are smoothed out. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers and Botox or Dysport injections are not interchangeable. These injections work only by weakening underlying muscle contraction are not facial fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. Fillers are not interchangeable with Botox or Dysport injections. Fillers replace or “fill-in” lost facial volume whereas Botox or Dysport only inhibit muscle contraction.Both treatments are in fact complimentary aesthetic injections that will relax wrinkles and folds and help you regain your youthful appearance and enhance your face.
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.
As a plastic surgeon, it will never be a major source of income for me, so I choose to make it easy and affordable. We charge $13 per Botox unit. Having said that, though, we have a monthly day of beauty when Botox, facials, and peels are discounted - in the case of Botox, usually to $10 per unit. Currently, because we are welcoming a Nurse Practitioner to our Aesthetic Surgery Center, we are even offering Botox for $7 per unit!
I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
The average price for Botox in the Houston area is $14-15/unit. Most providers nowadays will offer specials. In addition, Botox has a "rewards" program that gives you $25 off each treatment done within 3-6 mos of the last treatment, as long as it's done at the same office. Treatment of the glabella, crow's feet and forehead require 25-50 units, depending on the severity of the lines.
One glaring example took place over the weekend, when someone on Twitter (TWTR) posted a photograph of an injured police officer, with a caption that he’d been “brutalized” by the migrant caravan on its way to the United States. “These pictures do not capture police officers who were brutalized by members of the immigrant caravan making its way toward the U.S. in October 2018,” Snopes explained.
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 their upper limbs or increase movement in joints that are permanently fixed in position by stiff muscles. Treatment with BOTOX® is not meant to replace existing physical therapy or other rehabilitation that may have been prescribed.
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