Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
The efficacy and safety of BOTOX for the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis were evaluated in two randomized, multi center, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Study 1 included adult patients with persistent primary axillary hyperhidrosis who scored 3 or 4 on a Hyperhidrosis Disease Severity Scale (HDSS) and who produced at least 50 mg of sweat in each axilla at res t over 5 minutes. HDSS is a 4-point scale with 1 = “underarm sweating is never noticeable and never interferes with my daily activities”; to 4 = “underarm sweating is intolerable and always interferes with my daily activities”. A total of 322 patients were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to treatment in both axillae with either 50 Units of BOTOX, 75 Units of BOTOX, or placebo. Patients were evaluated at 4-week intervals. Patients who responded to the first injection were re-injected when they reported a re-increase in HDSS score to 3 or 4 and produced at least 50 mg sweat in each axilla by gravimetric measurement, but no sooner than 8 we eks after the initial injection.
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.
Contrary to popular belief, the bacteria that causes botulism, clostridium botulinum, is not part of the treatment, nor are six of the seven neurotoxins it secretes. The only substance used in Botox injections, botulinum toxin A, is carefully extracted, purified, and standardized into FDA-approved doses. Plus, the dosage is so small, it can't get beyond the muscle tissue it's injected into, meaning there's little if any chance for Botox to reach the bloodstream.
In a recent Facebook Live, our new director Nim Lalvani introduced herself to the migraine community. If you missed our Facebook Live, watch the recording below or read on to learn more about Lalvani’s personal connection to migraine and her plans for the Foundation. [embed]https://www.facebook.com/americanmigrainefoundation/videos/290329171553466/[/embed] In the short time that Lalvani has worked at AMF, she’s been impressed by the strong and vibrant community of doctors, patients and advocates. Lalvani’s background is in public health, and she has dedicated her career to patient engagement. She has worked in the nonprofit and patient advocacy spaces for more than 12 years, helping patients at both the national and international level. “I've specifically focused my career on designing and providing the rights tools and resources for patients at the times that they need it most,” she shared, adding that her goal is to amplify patients’ voices in research and therapeutic development.
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.
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.
“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.”
Botox is best known for smoothing out wrinkles, but since 2010 it’s also been used to prevent migraines. (Scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why Botox works, though it may interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.) Though the 36 injections I get every three months in my forehead, skull, neck, and shoulders are painful, they’ve been a game changer. I went from 16 to 18 migraines a month to about eight. The intensity of the pain has gone down, too. The results are so good that I find myself frustrated that I spent so many years in unnecessary misery.

In a double-blind study of 123 adults with regular, chronic migraine, the adults receiving botulinum toxin type A experienced fewer migraine attacks each month. In addition, attacks they did experience were less intense, of shorter duration, and required less treatment than adults who did not receive Botox injections for migraine. These injections were also well-tolerated in adults experiencing migraine with and without aura.
University-based ophthalmologists in the USA and Canada further refined the use of botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent. By 1985, a scientific protocol of injection sites and dosage had been empirically determined for treatment of blepharospasm and strabismus.[76] Side effects in treatment of this condition were deemed to be rare, mild and treatable.[77] The beneficial effects of the injection lasted only 4–6 months. Thus, blepharospasm patients required re-injection two or three times a year.
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.

Allergan plc, incorporated on May 16, 2013, is a specialty pharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of brand name pharmaceutical products, medical aesthetics, biosimilar and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products. The Company operates through three segments: US Specialized Therapeutics, US General Medicine and International. The US Specialized Therapeutics segment includes sales relating to branded products within the United States, including Medical Aesthetics, Medical Dermatology, Eye Care, Neurosciences and Urology therapeutic products. The US General Medicine segment includes sales relating to branded products within the United States that do not fall into the US Specialized Therapeutics business units, including Central Nervous System, Gastrointestinal, Women's Health, Anti-Infectives and Diversified Brands. The International segment includes sales relating to products sold outside the United States. Within its US Specialized Therapeutics, US General Medicine and International operations, the Company sells its brand and aesthetic pharmaceutical products primarily to drug wholesalers, retailers and distributors, including national retail drug and food store chains, hospitals, clinics, mail-order retailers, government agencies and managed healthcare providers, such as health maintenance organizations and other institutions.
Focal Spasticity is a condition in which certain muscles in your body become stiff or tight. It is caused by damage to parts of the central nervous system that control voluntary movements. When this happens, your nerves send continuous messages to your muscles telling them to contract, or tighten. If you or someone you care for has stiffness in the muscles of the elbow, wrist, fingers, thumb, ankle, or toes, it could be Focal Spasticity.1
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