Botulinum toxin exerts its effect by cleaving key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerves which use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Once bound to the nerve terminal, the neuron takes up the toxin into a vesicle. As the vesicle moves farther into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin which triggers it to push across the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm.[1] Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.[1]

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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.

On average, each BOTOX treatment requires 32 injections, though individual patients may require fewer or more. You’ll receive injections every twelve weeks, and each session only takes a few minutes. BOTOX begins to work as soon as it’s injected, and you should see full results within a week of your first injections. Most patients who benefit from BOTOX treatments receive five rounds of injections over 15 months. BOTOX is injected using a very fine needle. Most patients describe it as feeling like a tiny pinprick.
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.
"We were very skeptical," says Edwin Chapman, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, after reading Caleo's study. But in August 2016, Chapman and his graduate student Ewa Bomba-Warczak published a study in the journal Cell Reports showing similar spreading effects in animal cells in the lab. For Chapman, it explained what he was hearing anecdotally from doctors: that Botox might be influencing the central nervous system and not just the area where it's being injected.
Ray Chester, an attorney in Austin who has represented several plaintiffs in lawsuits against Allergan, says that just about all the cases he has handled involved off-label use of the drug. In 2014 a New York couple argued that Botox, which they chose to try off-label to treat their son's cerebral-palsy symptoms, caused life-threatening complications. The family was awarded $6.75 million by a jury. Allergan, which initially planned to appeal, ended up privately settling the case with the family, and the terms of the settlement have been kept confidential.
Exactly how soon you'll need to return for more Botox injections is really up to you. Some patients prefer to return for a touch up of Botox cosmetic after just three months, or at the very first sign of fine lines and facial wrinkles returning. Others prefer to wait six months or more until the effects of the previous injection have completely faded away.
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.
    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.
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.

Currently, there are several anti-CGRP treatments undergoing clinical trials. Some of these treatments involve monoclonal antibodies, which reduce the activity of CGRP, potentially leading to fewer migraine attacks. One of these anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies, erenumab (Aimovig™), has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is now available for patients. A second agent, fremanezumab (Ajovy™), was approved in September 2018. A week later, the FDA approved galcanezumab (Emgality™), making it the third anti-CGRP treatment currently on the market. Results from the clinical trials involving anti-CGRP antibodies have shown that about 50 percent of patients will have at least a 50 percent reduction in migraine days. “If you think about someone who has 20 migraine days per month, they have a 50 percent chance of having 10 or less migraine days,” Dr. Starling says. “We think that there are even these super-responders who have a 75 percent response rate, as well as super-super-responders who actually go into remission.” The results from these clinical trials are very promising, Dr. Starling adds. “The adverse events have been very minimal and the efficacy has been very good. It’s all looking up.” Dr. Starling says that although these medications are available, what really needs to be looked at is how to make them truly accessible for patients. Erenumab can cost about $7,000 per year without insurance coverage. “Insurance coverage is very, very key for the majority of our patient population,” she says. “Because the medications just came out on the market, there are still a lot of unknowns about insurance coverage.”
This product contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). There is a theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but if that risk actually exists, the risk of transmission would also be considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases, CJD or vCJD have ever been identified for licensed albumin or albumin contained in other licensed products.
Botox has also been shown to prevent chronic migraines, but there, it's unclear exactly why Botox works. (For doctors, reaching a firm understanding of how Botox prevents migraines will be tricky, since they don't know for certain what causes the severe headaches in the first place.) "There were multiple clinical trials for migraines, and most of them failed," says Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of drug development at Allergan and chief scientific officer for Botox. "It took a long time to figure out where to inject and how much." Today people who receive Botox for migraine prevention get 31 injections in different spots on their head and neck. The effects of Botox can last about three to six months depending on the condition.
The 5-unit dose that is injected at each site is a very low dose. Earlier studies with total dosing below 155 units failed to show separation from placebo. As a result, I encourage all patients to get a minimum of 155 units, even if they have a small frame. The optional component of the injection paradigm is the 40 units that are used for following the pain sites. The pain sites are the temporalis, occipitalis, and trapezius. These can be held if the injector is concerned. I do not reduce the dose below 155 units as lower doses have not separated from placebo, and thus I may not achieve an adequate headache effect with a lower dose. In fact, most of the time I increase the dose to at least 165 units, as this was the mean dose in the PREEMPT trials. I inject 5 units behind each ear for a bilateral headache and 5 units in two sites behind one ear in a side-locked headache.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, a total of 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected into each corrugator muscle. To confirm the location of the muscle, the patient is asked to furrow the brow in order to activate the corrugator. Once the muscle has been located, the muscle should be palpated and pinched by holding it between the thumb and index finger. Five units of onabotulinumtoxinA is injected at an approximate 90° angle with the bevel of the needle pointing upward into the medial belly of the muscle. As the needle is inserted, there is skin resistance, which lessens when the muscle is penetrated. This decrease in resistance is termed a muscle pop. Once the muscle pop occurs, inject into the superficial muscle. If the injection is too far superior or above the corrugator muscle, brow ptosis can occur due to depression of the medial brow as the frontalis elevating function is lost and the corrugator depressing function remains unopposed. Whereas weakening the corrugator muscle will cause elevation of the medial eyebrow, alternatively, if the corrugator injection is done too low, then diffusion to the levator palpebral muscle could lead to lid ptosis.

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]
Twenty two adult patients, enrolled in double-blind placebo controlled studies, received 400 Units or higher of BOTOX for treatment of upper limb spasticity. In addition, 44 adults received 400 Units of BOTOX or higher for four consecutive treatments over approximately one year for treatment of upper limb spasticity. The type and frequency of ad verse reactions observed in patients treated with 400 Units of BOTOX were similar to those reported in patients treated for upper limb spasticity with 360 Units of BOTOX.
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.
Botox is an injectable drug made from a toxic bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When you eat the toxin produced by this bacterium, it causes a life-threatening form of food poisoning, known as botulism. But when you inject it into your body, it causes different symptoms. It blocks certain chemical signals from your nerves, causing temporary paralysis of your muscles.
Some doctors and dermatologists recommend lying down and resting after a treatment, but Ravitz says she doesn't think there's any need for downtime unless a patient experiences pain. It can take about two weeks to work, though some patients start to feel relief from chronic migraines sooner than that. Ravitz tells me, "If it’s going to work for a patient, one round of the treatment typically lasts for around three months." Though everybody metabolizes it at a different rate, getting it done every three months or so has been found to be effective.
On November 23, 2015, Allergan and Pfizer announced their intention to merge in a $160 billion transaction, the largest pharmaceutical deal and the third largest merger in history.[19] On April 5, 2016, after the Obama administration announced its plan to ban tax inversions, Pfizer terminated the acquisition and paid Allergan a $150 million breakup fee.[20]
Chapman and Bomba-Warczak both think Botox is safe when used correctly, but they say their inboxes quickly filled with messages after their study was published. "We were startled by the number of people who feel they were harmed by these toxins," says Chapman. "We feel these were pretty safe agents. Now it seems that for some people, they believe the toxin can sometimes cause something that may be irreversible. And that's a total mystery."
Botox should only be injected with sterile instruments in a doctor's office or a medical spa — not at Botox parties at your local nail salon or neighbor's living room. Botox injection is usually performed with some local anesthesia or a numbing cream. You may feel some minimal discomfort from the shot, but today's needles are so thin and fine that the procedure is often painless. Depending on the extent of treatment, the procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes.
When my babies were little, I never discussed migraine with them. As they grew into preschool and elementary age, I found it necessary to explain it to them.  They had seen me experience migraine symptoms for a long time but understood it as just being sick. We went to a migraine walk where we talked about how others cope like I do, and they heard other stories that were similar to mine. They felt empowered that we had fundraised for a disease that affects millions and that we were fighting it as a family and community. My children want to help. Having ways they can help builds their confidence in their ability to take care of me, as I do them. They know to turn the lights off, get ice and talk quietly. I have taught them how to be self-sufficient. I’m so proud of how they take care of themselves and are willing to take care of others. The qualities that they’re learning and displaying will carry them through life.

Unlike a face lift or other kind of invasive facial rejuvenation procedure, treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime. Using a very fine needle, Botox is injected into the facial muscles that are responsible for unsightly wrinkles and fine lines and relaxes the muscles. The ingredients in Botox block the signal from the nerve to the muscle, and therefore reduce it’s ability to contract, and form unsightly wrinkles.
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