Though there's still more research to be done on Botox for migraines and doctors aren't yet completely sure why the procedure is effective, they have some ideas. Ravitz tells me, "What [Botox] does is paralyze nerve terminals. Essentially, nerve terminals transmit pain, but they also produce pain substances while they’re doing that, and it completely paralyzes that process." She says that it stops the process of pain patterning and it also relaxes the muscles.
BOTOX blocks neuromuscular transmission by binding to acceptor sites on motor or sympathetic nerve terminals, entering the nerve terminals, and inhibiting the release of acetylcholine. This inhibition occurs as the neurotoxin cleaves SNAP -25, a protein integral to the successful docking and release of acetylcholine from vesicles situated within nerve endings. When injected intramuscularly at therapeutic doses, BOTOX produces partial chemical denervation of the muscle resulting in a localized reduction in muscle act ivity. In addition, the muscle may atrophy, axonal sprouting may occur, and extrajunctional acetylcholine receptors may develop. There is evidence that reinnervation of the muscle may occur, thus slowly reversing muscle denervation produced by BOTOX.
In a study to evaluate inadvertent peribladder administration, bladder stones were observed in 1 of 4 mal e monkeys that were injected with a total of 6.8 Units/kg divided into the prostatic urethra and proximal rectum (single administration). No bladder stones were observed in male or female monkeys following injection of up to 36 Units/kg (~12X the highest human bladder dose) directly to the bladder as either single or 4 repeat dose injections or in female rats for single injections up to 100 Units/kg (~33X the highest human bladder dose).
Treatment with BOTOX® and other botulinum toxin products can result in swallowing or breathing difficulties. Patients with pre-existing swallowing or breathing difficulties may be more susceptible to these complications. In most cases, this is a consequence of weakening of muscles in the area of injection that are involved in breathing or oropharyngeal muscles that control swallowing or breathing (see Boxed Warning).
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.”
“Your doctor still has to be willing to do the work of filing a waiver and they don’t get reimbursed for that work, so they don’t like to do it,” Hoffman says. Plus, there’s a federal law called ERISA that exempts certain types of employer-provided health plans, called self-funded plans, from the requirements of state laws. So, for roughly a quarter of Americans who have these health plans, the state limitations to step therapy don’t apply.
* LS mean change, treatment difference and p-value are based on an analysis using an ANCOVA model with baseline weekly endpoint as covariate and treatment group, etiology at study entry (spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis), concurrent anticholinergic therapy at screening, and investigator as factors. LOCF values were used to analyze the primary efficacy variable.
Allergan’s Phase 3 hypothesis for securing conditional accelerated approval is to demonstrate that CVC treatment therapeutically initiates and induces improvement in histological hepatic fibrosis without worsening of NASH resolution. Notably, establishing improvement in NASH resolution after CVC therapy in NASH is not a prerequisite for attaining FDA conditional accelerated approval. A Phase 3 interim data readout for FDA Subpart H conditional accelerated approval is anticipated possibly in H1/2019.
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
Risks are very minor with this procedure. The main risks consist of headache, pain, and flu-like illness. In rare cases, there may be a drooping lid or eyebrow area. It is important for the cosmetic surgeon to assess the patient's lids before injecting because the patient may not be a good candidate if he or she has an extremely droopy lid to begin with or one that is held up by constantly arching the lids. Ptosis (a severe drooping of the eyelid) can occur in up to 5% of patients but is very rare if the cosmetic surgeon does this procedure often. These complications are typically very minor occurrences and resolve with time.
The safety and efficacy of onabotulinumtoxinA for CM was demonstrated in the pivotal phase III Research Evaluating Migraine Prophylaxis Therapy (PREEMPT) trial. In this trial, patients were treated every 12 weeks whether or not their headaches had returned to baseline levels and the primary outcome period was after two treatment cycles. At baseline, these patients had more than 19 headache days, and after two treatment cycles, their headaches had been reduced by 8 to 9 days per 28 days. The responder rate analysis of the study population shows that about 25% of patients improved by 75% in terms of a reduction of migraine days. In my practice, I usually do three cycles 12 weeks apart, and only if there is no change in headache frequency after this, do I change treatments. In the pivotal trials, the first statistical separation from placebo occurred in the first 4 weeks. There is a small subgroup of patients who fail to respond to the first two treatments and only start to respond after the third treatment.4-10
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is to be administered to two sites on each side for a total dose of 20 units across four sites in the cervical paraspinal muscle group near the midline. The first injection site is approximately 1 cm left of the midline of the cervical spine and approximately 3 cm (2 fingerbreadths) inferior to the occipital protuberance. The second site is measured approximately 1 fingerbreadth diagonally up at a 45° angle from the first injection. The injections should be administered in the most superficial aspect of the muscle, angling the needle 45° and superiorly. To aid in the placement of the injections, the patient should be positioned upright with the head in a neutral position. If the neck is flexed too far forward, injections may be too deep. Injections that are too low or too deep in this muscle group can lead to muscle weakness and neck pain. Injectors should use a suboccipital approach to ensure that the injection sites are not too low. In addition, a horizontal line can be visualized across the neck, approximately 2 fingerbreadths down from the occipital protuberance, to make certain the injections remain above the line and are not administered too low in the neck. The higher these injections are, the more likely that they will be in the muscle fascial condensation, which will minimize the potential for neck weakness. These injections should not be done below the hairline. Patients who have trigger points in the neck should not be injected at these sites as these are generally areas where muscles may be weakened and injections of onabotulinumtoxinA at these sites might worsen their neck issues.
This medication can spread to other parts of the body after your injection, causing serious (possibly fatal) side effects. These can occur hours or even weeks after the injection. However, the chances of such serious side effects occurring when this medication is used for migraines or skin conditions such as wrinkles, eye spasm, or excessive sweating are extremely unlikely.
BOTOX is administered about every three months, and must be injected at the site of each nerve trigger, relaxing the surrounding muscles so that they won’t compress the nerve and trigger a migraine. It is a potent drug, and we only recommend using it if other preventative treatment options haven’t helped you. It is generally only administered to patients who have at least 14 headaches a month, or don’t respond to other treatments.
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.
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.
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.
In Seattle, the cost usually ranges between 10$ and 16$ per unit. It varies depending on a few things. 1. Expertise of the injector, 2. Who the injector is (physician vs other), 3. Whether an office may be running a special. The number of units placed in an area can vary. For instance, for the frown lines between the eyebrows, studies show that the right amount for most women is 25 units. However, in my practice, I may put in as few as 10 (young female with a very petite forehead) or as many as 30 (larger forehead, strong frown line). We usually have 2-3 "botox" special events per year, and we also have an ongoing special price for VIP patients to reward them for coming to our clinic.
Aesthetician Mary Schook is anti-Botox because she sees the long-term effects on her clients. “Everyone is always like, ‘Look how great this looks,’ and then there is the long-term and they are like, 'Fix me,'” she says. “Allergan [the company that owns Botox] says one in 100 patients gets eyelid-drop, so I always joke, ‘I must meet one in 100 patients, because everyone I see has that drop.'”
Now Allergan hopes to replicate the findings on a larger scale, and the company is currently running its own Phase 2 clinical trial. If its results are in line with Rosenthal and Finzi's, it would be huge, paving the way for Botox to obtain official approval for the drug as a depression treatment. That wouldn't change anything for doctors, of course--they can already prescribe it off-label, and some do, with great results--but it would allow Allergan to begin marketing Botox for depression, a change that could dramatically increase its adoption and sales.
“I don’t think it is physically addictive,” says Dr. Matarasso. “But, I have to be very frank with you, when I get a new patient I tell them (and I say this tongue-in-cheek) this product is truly addictive. I make jokes with my patients that we need a 12-step program for it, because when it’s done correctly, it’s a very simple office procedure, with impressive cosmetic results.”
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.”
Symptoms of overdose are likely not to be present immediately following injection. Should accidental injection or oral ingest ion occur or overdose be suspected, the person should be medically supervised for several weeks for signs and symptoms of systemic muscular weakness which could be local, or distant from the site of injection [see BOX WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. These patients should be considered for further medical evaluation and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted, which may include hospitalization.
If going back for additional treatments three or four times a year sounds like a lot of treatments, the good news is that the more Botox treatments you get, the fewer Botox units you'll need. With each repeat Botox session, the frontalis muscle and other facial muscles surrounding Botox injection sites get a little weaker and become "trained" to not contract.
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.
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.